Gay Men Living With Health & Medical Issues, More Common Than We Think

By Nick Delmacy | Posted Feb 24 2016 | 8 Comments  


Health Issues, Medical Conditions, Aches and Pains are so very common yet people often think they are the only ones silently having to deal with them… it can seriously affect confidence, especially with socializing and dating.


From asthma and respiratory issues to digestive disorders to living with HIV, the “severity” of the affliction is subjective and in the eye of the beholder.


One of my single close friends presents her life on social media as “perfect” yet she suffers with Sickle Cell Anemia and often has to be hospitalized.


My own younger brother, who’s married with children, has had a weak immune system his entire life. He’s constantly sick and is often taking off work to either go to the doctor or check in to the hospital. He’s taken off work so much that they think he’s faking it at this point.


Another friend of mine suffers from the sleep disorder insomnia, which affects his energy level during the day.


Even myself, a man getting up there in age, I’ve started to notice that my body isn’t as well-oiled of a machine anymore. My gut can’t so easily digest any and every type of food that I shove into it like it used to (an issue shared by over 20% of Americans)… In the grand scheme of things, this is nothing debilitating or major, but at times it can be so annoyingly inconvenient that I’ve cancelled social activities pre-planned with friends.


Do I talk about this on social media, nope. Not many people do.


Unless its something mundane like having a cold or flu, many of us keep chronic or recurring health issues to ourselves because A) they’re personal and between us and our doctor only, B) they can be embarrassing, and C) they could affect how others view us.


Also, no one wants to be a negative “Debbie Downer,” lowering the moods of other people by constantly discussing/complaining about their issues.


But in reality, more people would probably relate to and identify with social media posts about health issues than less downer posts about your favorite TV Show or Musician.


Herpes is another very common lifelong (but manageable) medical condition, affecting 67% of the global population under 50 years old and roughly 16% of United States citizens aged 14-49 years old. This doesn’t even include the people who don’t know they have the infection. But living with Herpes is rarely ever spoken about in “polite society.”


Many of the gay men who proudly discuss their HIV status on social media rarely go into details about the complications that can come with living with the virus. True, it takes courage to publicly disclose your status to others, but it can be equally informative and reassuring if the details of what life is like after being diagnosed is discussed as well.


The ironic thing about all this is just about everyone has something they’re silently dealing or living with…or had to live with in the past and finally recovered from.


This misguided sense of being “the only one” with a chronic illness or medical affliction, coupled with the low self esteem from being gay/bisexual in a less-than-welcoming society, can drive some people to extremes.


Like a perfect storm, Depression can result in this toxic cocktail, leading to isolation in socializing with other people and sometimes even suicide.


The invention of the Internet has helped greatly with this. There are now many forum support communities online just for people living with certain illnesses. On top of that, a quick Google search can easily lead you to dating sites specifically for people to find others who are either just like them or willing to look past a medical condition to get to know the person inside.


Admittedly, shedding the fear and embarrassment can come from discussing your health issues with others is easier said than done. But reminding yourself that no one is perfect and that many of the people that you meet will likely share your experience (in some form or another) can make it a lot better.


About the Author
Nick Delmacy

Nick is a founder, editor and the pop culture expert at Cypher Avenue. Serving as the designer and webmaster of the site, he is the architect of The Cypher Avenue Matrix.

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8 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. grownman
    grownman | February 24th, 2016

    Wow, I can't co-sign this enough. That's all I have to say.

    …Oh, besides that dude looks like one of my friends-just a tad darker.

  2. JNH412
    JNH412 | February 24th, 2016

    Necessary write-up man. Hell, I'm a walking paycheck for docs/therapists. It's always summin going on with me lolol. Just now, I had to lay my black ass down cuz varicocele is no joke. Since aches, pains, illness, and disease affirms our mortality, they become the psychoemotional titans to contend with. Good convo starter bruh…

  3. Jdudre | February 25th, 2016

    Thank you for this post

  4. Sage
    Sage | February 25th, 2016

    Great post Nick. I'm looking through the random aches, pains and lessons that come with life in your 40s. I agree with JNH412 that these things affirm and confirm our mortality. I'd also add that they contribute to the wisdom that comes with mindfulness of other perspectives. Sixteen year old me did not consider the impact that of all those hours on the court would have on my knees. Now that I'm a knee replacement candidate, I'm grateful that losing a few pounds keeps the chronic pain at bay (and that I'm healthy enough to lose weight through exercise). The inconveniences and social isolation that can accompany chronic diseases are real! Do your best to be a supportive resource for those near and dear to you.

  5. Day'lon
    Day'lon | March 1st, 2016

    I must say that I hate hospitals and going to the doctor. My partner goes to the doctor if he feels any pain. I have become more concerned about my health and I made an appointment. I found out that I have high blood pressure and now pre diabetic but the good news is all that I have to do is eat right and lose weight. I will tell anyone pay attention to your body because it knows when something is wrong.

  6. Rhode
    Rhode | March 19th, 2016

    A great article. I always seem to arrive late to the conversation, but better late than never. Thanks so much for sharing. I am a senior now and my doctor has me on meds for my cholesterol level and my BP (blood pressure). I was very insulted when my doc prescribed medication that I have to take all my days. However, I realize that if I want to maintain a reasonably decent quality of life, I must submit. The thought of a stroke or other damage that unchecked issues can bring is a great motivator in doing what is best…even if it wounds my pride a little bit.

  7. ColumbusGuy
    ColumbusGuy | March 21st, 2016

    Just want to add this: know your family history of illness! Know if certain cancers or medical conditions run in your family. The thing that runs in my family is colon cancer(and it also runs higher in blacks than in whites). My father had it 25 years ago, ran to the doctor at the first symptoms, had surgery, and was cured-no chemo, no nothing else. Been ok ever since. My brothers and I get the colonoscopy's even though they are awful-not only did my father have it, but my mother's mother died of it. It is on both sides of the family so we have to watch for it.

    You are at greater risk of something if it runs in your family so get the checkups and know the signs and symptoms-and take action and see the doctor if you suspect something. Nobody ever died from a false alarm!

  8. grownman
    grownman | March 23rd, 2016

    "But in reality, more people would probably relate to and identify with social media posts about health issues than less downer posts about your favorite TV Show or Musician."

    I reread this article that you wrote a gazillion/bazillion times. It's that good. I get something different every time.

    However, this time I came across this statement and it would be delightful. That is if it were correct. I naively held this belief until reality set in.

    Clubs, pride events, balls and RHWOA are what's happening. I know that Im a "Debbie Downer" at this moment. Lol, but I couldn't resist responding to this.

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