Gay men who live in U.S. states where same-sex marriage is legal make fewer doctor visits, have lower healthcare costs, and in general lead happier and healthier lives, according to a new study being published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Researchers at Columbia University analyzed health data from a group of gay men in Massachusetts for the twelve months before and after same-sex marriage was legalized in that state in 2003, and concluded that the number of visits by gay men to health clinics dropped significantly after same-sex unions were legalized.
The researchers surveyed the demand for medical and mental healthcare from more than 1,200 gay men registered with a Massachusetts health clinic in the 12 months prior to the 2003 change and the 12 months afterwards and found a 13-percent drop in healthcare visits after the law was enacted.
This was regardless of whether the men were in a stable relationship, the American Journal of Public Health reported.
There was a reduction in blood pressure problems, depression and “adjustment disorders,” which could be the result of reduced stress, researchers said.
“Our results suggest that removing these barriers improves the health of gay and bisexual men,” study leader Mark Hatzenbuehler said.via: UPI
A spokesman for the Terrence Higgins Trust, a UK-based sexual health and HIV charity, told the BBC that “there is a known link between health and happiness.”
“It’s no surprise that people who are treated as second class citizens tend to have low self esteem, which in turn makes them more likely to take risks,” the spokesman said. “Whether this is drugs, alcohol abuse, or unsafe sex, treating gay men unequally has lasting repercussions for their health.”