Please note: This information was current at the time of publication but now may be out of date. This handout provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit familydoctor.org, the AAFP patient education website.

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Am Fam Physician. 2015;91(12):online

See related article on preventive health care for men who have sex with men

How can I find a doctor or hospital that will support me and not judge me?

Ask your friends to recommend a supportive doctor or hospital. Check online sources such as social media and websites. Look for symbols such as a rainbow flag, photos of same-sex couples in clinic brochures, or the Human Rights Campaign logo (a yellow “equals” symbol on a blue background).

What should I discuss with my doctor to stay healthy?

Ask about tests and vaccines that all men your age should get. Tell your doctor if you have any feelings of depression, anxiety, or other concerns about your mood. Let him or her know if you use drugs, drink alcohol, or use tobacco. Also tell him or her about your sex partners and activities.

Which other immunizations do I need?

You may need shots for hepatitis A and B, if you have not had them already. You should also get shots for human papillomavirus (HPV) through age 26. Some men who have sex with men should have a meningococcal vaccine. Ask your doctor if you should get one.

Why should I discuss my sexual practices and sex partners with my doctor?

Your doctor can tell you if your sexual practices put you at higher risk of disease. He or she can make recommendations to keep you healthy.

How can I prevent HIV?

You can practice abstinence, which means not having sex. You can practice safer sex by using condoms every time you have sex. If you think you will not use condoms every time you have sex, ask your doctor about preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP involves taking medicine and visiting your doctor often, but it gives you some protection from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

If you have had high-risk sex in the past two days and did not use condoms, ask your doctor about postexposure prophylaxis. Your doctor may give you some medicines to help protect you from HIV.

What is high-risk sex?

The highest risk is unprotected receptive anal sex. This means that your partner puts his penis in your anus (bottom) without wearing a condom. Other high-risk sex practices include having many sex partners, having sex with strangers, and using drugs or alcohol during sex.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Fenway Health

GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality

Human Rights Campaign

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force

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