50’s Plus

Below are answers to some common general health questions asked by gay men over 50 in Rhode Island.

How does getting HIV impact someone over age 50?

Acquiring HIV in men over age 50 can have serious health consequences if diagnosed late. It can weaken your immune system and make you vulnerable to many diseases. This is why it is critical to get tested routinely for HIV if you are sexually active. If diagnosed early, HIV can be treated and even older men can live normal, healthy lives.

Are there any special health concerns I should address as I age as a gay man?

For some frank information on this topic, check out this Huff Post Gay Voices blog post: “Gay and Gray: What We Need to Know ABout Aging Gay Men”

In addition, here is a checklist for good health

  • Find yourself a primary health care provider.
  • Don’t smoke tobacco at all.
  • Use alcohol in moderation, or not at all.
  • Eat sensibly by avoiding too much fat.
  • Get regular vigorous physical activity.
  • Appreciate sex, but be sure to protect yourself and your partners.
  • Make sure you are immune to hepatitis A and B.
  • Get tested for HIV and other STDs as often as appropriate.
  • Don’t delay in checking out any worrisome symptoms.

 

Can you provide advice for men who are coming out to a wife and kids?

There is a lot of good advice out there on this topic. Every person’s situation is different. Check out this Guy Dads website for more information.

I’ve lost interest in sex. Is this normal?

Although sex drive and ability may decline with age, you should expect to have satisfactory sexual function your whole life. The key to maintaining sexual function is to “use it or lose it.” According to Dr. Peter Shalit in The Gay Man’s Essential Health Guide: “The older guys I see who are sexually active have been that way their whole lives. They masturbate regularly, and/or they may have a regular partner.”

I encounter bouts of depression as I am aging. Is there any way to treat this?

Depression can be common in people as they age. It can be treated in different ways through counseling and/or medication. The best place to start is having a conversation with your primary care provider about what you are feeling.

Can you give information on how to treat erectile dysfunction?

If you suffer from erectile dysfunction, it is best to get a full understanding of its causes and treatment. There are many causes of erectile dysfunction. Check out this website for more information.

As a gay man, how should I plan for retirement?

There are many things to do to prepare for retirement. Here is a link that is specific for gay men on the topic.