Does Homosexual Behavior Present More of a Health Risk Than Does Heterosexual Behavior?

PRO (yes)

John R. Diggs, Jr., MD, Practicing Internist at Wing Medical Center, wrote in his 2002 report for the Corporate Research Council, The Health Risks of Gay Sex:

"It is clear that there are serious medical consequences to same-sex behavior. Identification with a GLB community appears to lead to an increase in promiscuity, which in turn leads to a myriad of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and even early death."

2002 - John R. Diggs, Jr., MD 

The Traditional Values Coalition stated on its website (accessed Nov. 12, 2004):

"The behavior of homosexuality, for example, is inherently unsafe and frequently leads to serious infections from sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS."

Nov. 12, 2004 - Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) 

The Family Research Council (FRC) stated on its website (accessed Sep. 30, 2003):

"Homosexual and lesbian relationships are typically characterized by instability, promiscuity, and unhealthy and risky sex practices, factors that greatly increase the incidence of serious and incurable sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including hepatitis, HPV, syphillis, gonorrhea, and AIDS.

Homosexual men experience higher rates of many diseases, including:
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes most cases of cervical cancer in women and anal cancer in men,
  • Hepatitis A, B, and C,
  • Gonorrhea,
  • Syphilis,
  • 'Gay Bowel Syndrome', a set of sexually transmitted gastro-intestinal problems such as proctitis, proctocolitis, and enteritis, and
  • HIV/AIDS (One Canadian study found that as a result of HIV alone, 'life expectancy for gay and bisexual men is eight to twenty years less than for all men').
Lesbian women, meanwhile, have a higher prevalence of:
  • Bacterial vaginosis,
  • Hepatitis C,
  • HIV risk behaviors, and
  • Cancer risk factors such as smoking, alcohol use, poor diet, and being overweight.
Various research studies have found that homosexuals have higher rates of:
  • Alcohol abuse,
  • Drug abuse,
  • Nicotine dependence,
  • Depression, and
  • Suicide."

Sep. 30, 2003 - Family Research Council 

CON (no)

Kerryn Phelps, MBBS, Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Medicine in the Schools of Public Health and the Discipline of General Practice at Sydney University, stated in an Oct. 2002 speech at the Amnesty International Global Human Rights Conference, titled "Why Homophobia Is a Health Issue":

"The common experience of discrimination means that the health of non-heterosexual populations differs from that of the general population. It is most important to state that nearly all of these increased health risks are a direct result of the societal marginalisation and stigmatisation of sexual minorities. They ARE NOT due to people being identified as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Homosexuality itself does not pose some genetic or biological hazard. It is the negative reactions of others to it that creates the problems."

Oct. 2002 - Kerryn Phelps, MBBS 

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Campus Resource Center stated on its website (accessed 2006):

"The truth is that being GLBT does not give you AIDS. Certain sexual practices, certain drug use behaviors and other factors can put you at risk for catching HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, as well as other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)."

2006 - UCLA Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Campus Resource Center 

Gregory M. Herek, PhD, Professor of Psychology at the University of California at Davis, wrote in a 1991 article in American Psychologist titled "Avoiding Heterosexist Bias in Psychological Research":

"Phenomena should not be assumed to result from sexual orientation simply because they are observed in the gay community. Alcoholism, for example, is a serious problem in some sectors of the gay community. Attributing it to homosexuality per se, however, exemplifies the fundamental attribution bias... It explains behavior entirely in terms of personal characteristics while ignoring situational factors."

1991 - Gregory M. Herek, PhD 

Fengyi "Jeff" Jin, MB, MPH, Senior Research Assistant of the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, stated in the 2005 Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health article "Prevalence and Risk Factors of Hepatitis C in HIV-Negative Homosexual Men in Sydney, Australia":

"There was no evidence of an independent association between sexual behaviour and HCV [Hepatitis C virus] infection. The prevalence of HCV in this cohort was about the same as in the general population in Australia, and there was no evidence for sexual transmission in this population."

2005 - Fengyi "Jeff" Jin, MB, MPH 

The Institute of Medicine, in its 1999 book Lesbian Health: Current Assessment and Directions for the Future, stated:

"There are no epidemiological studies supporting a conclusion that lesbians are at increased risk for breast or other cancers...

There are no population-based data on cardiovascular disease among lesbians or on the factors that increase their risk for cardiovascular disease."

1999 - National Academies of Science (formerly Institute of Medicine) 

Antronette Yancey, MD, MPH, Professor of Public Health at the University of California at Los Angeles, wrote in the 2003 Preventive Medicine article "Correlates of Overweight and Obesity Among Lesbian and Bisexual Women":

"Correlates of overweight and obesity among lesbians and bisexual women are generally comparable to those observed in studies of heterosexual women."

2003 - Antronette Yancey, MD, MPH