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Health 'checkpoints' launched to help gay men

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11:47 CEST+02:00

A series of health centres specifically catering to the needs of gay men are being planned across Switzerland to help homosexuals deal with HIV issues, fear and psychological discomfort.

 

Recent studies have shown that gay men suffer poorer health than heterosexual men, a fact not only attributable to the higher prevalence of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, said the Federal Office of Public Health, which subsidises the centres.

Gay men tend to fall victim to mental stress and commit, or attempt to commit, suicide more frequently than heterosexual men, and the trend is increasing.

Two so-called "checkpoints" are already in place to provide counselling, HIV testing and psychosocial care for gay men in Zurich and Geneva, the office said.

Three more gay health centres are to be established in Basel, Bern and Vaud, the office said. The centres vow to offer comprehensive gay-friendly healthcare to the approximately five percent of the Swiss male population who are homosexuals.

Among the projects on offer is a three-day course for men recently diagnosed with HIV. Together with their partners, they can learn about possible treatment, legal issues, insurance aspects and how to avoid infecting others.

Similarly, participants in the "Queer Help" group can listen to positive case-studies relayed by experts who help people recently diagnosed with HIV. In the "Du-bist-Du" group (You are who you are), young gays help others to come out, while the "Queer Quit" project focuses on efforts to quit smoking.  

"Just as women prefer to go to female gynaecologists, gay men feel that that their problems are more specifically addressed and dealt with at gay-friendly facilities, where they usually encounter greater knowledge and understanding of their situation," the office said in a newsletter.

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