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Domestic Violence in Gays Linked to Poor Mental, Physical Health

Update Date: Mar 04, 2014 06:15 PM EST

Intimate partner violence among gay men increases the risk of mental and physical health symptoms, substance abuse and sexually transmitted infections, according to a new study.

Lead researchers Ana Maria Buller and Loraine Bacchus from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK, found an increase in negative health indicators for both victims and perpetrators of intimate partner violence among men who have sex with men.

The latest study involved data from 19 published studies with information about intimate partner violence and various health conditions or sexual risk behaviors among men who have sex with men.

Overall, the studies suggest that the lifetime rate of exposure to physical, emotional or sexual intimate partner violence among men who have sex with men is 48 percent.

The study linked exposure to intimate partner violence with an increased risk of alcohol or drug use, self-report of depressive symptoms, being HIV positive, and engagement in unprotected sex. Researchers also linked perpetration of intimate violence to an increased risk of substance abuse.

"Our results highlight the need for research into effective interventions to prevent IPV in MSM, as well as the importance of providing health care professionals with training in how to address issues of IPV among MSM and the need to raise awareness of local and national support services," researchers concluded.

The findings are published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

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