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Public health chiefs launch action to tackle health inequalities for gay, bisexual men

The health needs of gay and bisexual men are being poorly served, according to public health leaders who have launched a new ‘action plan’ outlining ways it wants CCGs and local authorities to bridge the gap.

Public Health England (PHE) said gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected by health problems related to sexually transmitted diseases, mental illness and the use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco.

The action plan calls for improved uptake of screening for HIV and sexually transmitted illnesses (STIs) as well as better surveillance of outbreaks of STIs, and more support and education on mental health problems specifically aimed at MSM.

It also wants health protection teams to do more to understand patterns of drug use in MSM, including ‘chemsex’, and make sure existing alcohol and tobacco campaigns are relevant to LGBT communities.

Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England said: ‘Despite vast improvements in social acceptance over the years, lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people continue to face discrimination. As a result, this community faces barriers in accessing health services, and remain disproportionately burdened with ill-health.

‘This structured programme of action will work with and support the public health system, private and third sector organisations to actively respond to the needs of these communities locally.’

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