Adams, Jeffery; Braun, Virginia; McCreanor, Timothy
March 2007
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand;Mar2007, Issue 30, p199
Academic Journal
Internationally, public health policy and practice are increasingly recognising and focusing on gay men's health issues beyond HIV/AIDS. Against this background we consider how gay men's health is understood and considered in Aotearoa New Zealand, including identification of problems, aetiology and possible solutions. Semi-structured interviews with key informants involved in diverse professional roles in areas related to health for gay men were undertaken and three overarching themes identified. First, informants identified gay men's health as a legitimate area of concern within health policy. Second, they framed gay men's health in biopsychosocial terms, but highlighted socio-political factors. Third, the informants suggested that broad health-promoting strategies, coupled with targeted strategies, are needed to improve gay men's health. However, informants confirmed that there is very little mainstream policy interest in gay men's health; similarly, they identified little interest in broader health issues within the gay community. These findings contrast with many international settings where health for gay men is an emerging area of policy concern and health promotion activity, in both mainstream and gay-specific settings. We argue that the invisibility of gay men within health policy contributes to disempowering gay men, which is likely to contribute to continued health disparities for gay men. To conclude, the policy implications of these findings are discussed.


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