By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com October 23 2003 12:00 AM ET
A recent three-day gay men's health summit in Salt Lake City drew about 160 attendees eager to learn more about health issues other than HIV that affect gay and bisexual men across the country, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. "For about 20 years, gay men's health has been equated with a person's HIV status," David Ferguson, a conference coordinator, told the Tribune. "We're not minimizing HIV, but gay men deal with lots of issues: relationships, spirituality, substance abuse."
The conference, sponsored by the Utah AIDS Foundation and Planned Parenthood, included discussions on such topics as aging, fitness, substance abuse, public sex, relationships, and sexually transmitted diseases. Kristen Ries, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Utah, also said in her keynote address that gay men are more likely than heterosexual men to experience anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. She also noted that HIV remains a serious issue among gay men, particularly in light of data showing that new HIV infections are on the rise. She said that in 2002, 151 gay men tested positive for HIV antibodies at her clinic; the same number had been diagnosed by the end of July this year. "People are tired of being safe," Ries told the Tribune. "Young people think there's a cure. And believe it or not, some people haven't heard about [HIV]."