Men Who Feel Isolated, Hopeless Are More Likely to Engage in High-Risk Sex Acts, Study Shows

It stands to reason that someone with a pervasively negative mental outset might engage in high-risk activities. A recent Chinese-American study of men who have sex with men (MSM) offers some numbers to back this up.

Pink News drew our attention to a report filed by experts from California and the Chinese cities of Nanjing and Beijing called "Depression, Loneliness, and Sexual Risk-Taking Among HIV-Negative/Unknown Men Who Have Sex with Men in China."

The study observed 507 Chinese men, and those who reported feeling lonely were 67% more likely to have receive bareback anal sex.

Of the subjects, 26.8 and 35.5% reported moderate-to-severe symptoms of depression and feeling lonely, respectively.

These depressed individuals also were twice as likely to feel “hopelessness for the future,” and more likely to bear internalized homophobia.

The study concludes that:

“MSM in China have significant rates of depression and loneliness. HIV prevention efforts should address the mental health needs of Chinese MSM such as providing safe environments for social support and role models.”

Note: This is not a slut-shaming study. No one is bashing bareback sex here or challenging anyone’s right to it. This is merely a thoroughly researched report that makes a connection between high-risk behaviors and mental health.

Mental health as a factor in gay and bisexual men becoming HIV-Positive has been a hot topic in recent years.

Somewhere between 30 and 60 % of LGBTQ+ people suffer from depression and/or anxiety at some point in life. That’s between 1.5-2.5% higher than straight, gender-conforming counterparts.

h/t: Pink News

Report: Archives of Sexual Behavior