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Legalized Same-Sex Marriage May Boost Gay Men's Health

December 21, 2011

Gay men who live in states where same-sex marriage is legal are healthier, less stressed, and make fewer doctor visits for general medical care, hypertension, and STDs, according to a new study. Researchers tracked data from 1,211 sexual minority men at a large community-based health center serving many LGBT patients in Massachusetts, which legalized same-sex marriage in 2003.

During the 12 months following legalization of same-sex marriage, there was a statistically significant decrease in medical care visits, mental health visits, and mental health care costs among gay and bisexual men, compared to the 12 months before legalization. Health care visits dropped 13 percent and health care costs 14 percent.

The benefits were similar for single gay men and those with partners. HIV-related health visits did not drop among HIV-positive men, suggesting those in need of care continued to use health care services.

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"These findings suggest that marriage equality may produce broad public health benefits by reducing the occurrence of stress-related health conditions in gay and bisexual men," lead author Mark Hatzenbuehler, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, said in a foundation news release.

There were too few lesbians in the study to include for the analysis, but previous research suggests that not having the legal right to marry can have a stressful effect on lesbians, gays, and bisexuals, said the foundation release.

"This research makes important contributions to a growing body of evidence on the social, economic, and health benefits of marriage equality," Hatzenbuehler said.

The full study, "Effect of Same-Sex Marriage Laws on Health Care Use and Expenditures in Sexual Minority Men: A Quasi-Natural Experiment," was published in the American Journal of Public Health (2011;e1-e7.doi:10.2105/AJPH.2011.300382).

Back to other news for December 2011

Adapted from:
USA Today
12.17.2011


This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
See Also
More on Issues Affecting the LGBT Community

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Mrs L Taylor (West Midlands, UK) Thu., Jan. 5, 2012 at 5:38 pm EST
Being married does not stop permiscuious behaviour. So the promotion of marriage is moot for sames sex couples health.

In hetrosexual marriages std's are common, what would make it different from samesex couples?

Personally I believe marriage is a sacred thing. It's more than just a piece of paper. It is of a higher moral ground once respected & honoured. But todays society makes it only a piece of paper & therefore manyh people seek to interprete it as they see it fit. Which be-littles its' importance.

Your statement shows little respect to the institution of marriage. Using it as a means of STD Prevention. Marriage is more than that.
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