Men Only Tayside sexual health advice and information service launched by NHS Tayside

A new advice and information service for gay and bisexual men has been launched by NHS Tayside.

Gay and bisexual men are still the highest risk group for acquiring HIV and other serious STIs. The group makes up the largest number and proportion of people diagnosed with HIV and also living in Scotland.

The new Men Only Tayside service and website aims to offer advice and information for gay and bisexual men.

NHS Tayside and the Terrence Higgins Trust has carried out recent research which has revealed that there is a continuing low level of awareness amongst gay and bisexual men in Tayside about HIV and the risks of unsafe sex.  This low level of awareness contributes to their vulnerability to acquiring the infection.

NHS Tayside’s executive lead for Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Ann Eriksen said: “Many men told us that they still experience homophobia and discrimination in their everyday lives and we know from research that this can be one of the things that stop men accessing testing and therefore treatment.

“We are committed to making sure that our services are caring, inclusive and designed to meet the needs of everyone in our community, which is why we have worked alongside local men in the planning of the Men Only Tayside service.

“To complement what we are doing to improve HIV prevention and services for gay and bisexual men, NHS Tayside is launching a year-long poster campaign which will highlight how men can take action themselves to protect their health.

“The series of bus adverts starts with a simple message about inclusion, we’re all the same, we’re all different. We hope that along with the other services and support that are being put in place it will help raise awareness and reduce the number of undiagnosed infections in our local population.”

Clive King, a health promotion specialist at Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland, said: “We were delighted to assist NHS Tayside in this important piece of work. Our research highlighted several areas of concern among local gay men, and the health board has been swift to act on our recommendations.

“The Men Only Tayside website is a tremendous resource and we are looking forward to promoting the MOT service throughout Tayside in the coming months.”

Find out more at www.menonlytayside.com

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Dating advice: things men really do not want to have to complain about

Men do not really nag, do they?  Well, a small number of them do, but most of them may make a comment or two and then give up, and possibly walk away.

So if you want to find out how to keep your relationship safe, consider this list of things that men don’t want to hear.  Obviously we’re not advising you to not communicate, but if you take a look at some of these openers, you will understand where we’re coming from, and save a lot of complaining or even nagging!

Constantly asking how you look, or if you look OK: Asking once in a while is OK.  It shows that you value your partner’s views and want him to think you look good.  But asking too much will give the impression that you are insecure and lack confidence, which over the long term can be a real turn off.  Also, asking if you look fat is another issue.  (Is there really a right answer to that one!). Pretty soon you are going to start hearing him say “Stop asking me that!”.

Talking about your ex, or saying you’re friends with your ex: It’s great that you are friends with your ex, or maybe even all of them. But constantly talking about them, introducing them all at once or asking if they can hang out with you both on Saturday evening is not a good idea.  How would you feel if your guy kept talking about his ex and wanted to hang out with her?  Not good, right?  Right.  People want to feel special and the focus of attention.  That’s part of the point of a date.  Some guys don’t mind if you’re friends with your ex, but most do. So sound him out and respect his feelings first, especially if you have just started seeing each other.

Telling him that he looks a bit like your dad, or that he makes you think of your brother: Saying this to a guy who is a friend is one thing, but to someone you are about to date, or your new boyfriend is a bad idea.  And if you keep saying it, he’ll soon ask you not too.  A guy wants to hear that he his sexy, smart and loveable in a way that only a boyfriend can be.

Letting him know that you tell your mother or your best friend everything: This really is a bad idea and it’s probably something you should stop doing.  No guy wants to know that what he is doing or saying is being discussed by you and other people he might not know.  It will feel like a betrayal and will affect the trust in the relationship.  A man needs to know that the relationship is special and not discussed by others.  This is the kind of thing that can lead to a break-up pretty quickly!

Telling him he never does something (such as buy you flowers, chocolate, calls after work): This is criticising, which we all know can sometimes lead a person to feel resentful and deflated.  If you want someone to do something, plant the seed of the idea as a positive suggestion, such as “I’d love to hear from you after work”, or “I love fresh flowers.  It would be great if they were from you.”

Telling him he is boring:  If he is, then again, why are you with him.  You may have to be clear and say you are just not that into fishing, golf, football, cooking, carpentry, whatever it is he keeps going on about.  But even if you are not, try and show a bit of interest and encouragement.

Telling him over and over that you don’t like his family or his friends: He is with you and either really likes you or loves you.  But his family and/or friends are most probably really important to him.  If one person is very problematic and doesn’t like you, and that’s causing friction, then try to talk about the issue and agree a solution.

Comparing him to someone else:  This is along the lines of telling him he never does something.  The overall message speaks for itself. You’re telling him you aren’t happy with him and/or his behaviour and that he is not measuring up to your (unrealistic?) expectations.  If you really do feel this way, you have to ask if you are with the right guy.  And if you keep comparing him, he will either ask you to stop, or break up with you.

Asking him who he’s attracted to and who he thinks is pretty: This may sound harmless but if the conversation happens over and over it can lead to trouble.  As well, he can feel as though he is being manipulated and may not know how to answer.

Asking him about the future, and hinting at living together or marriage: If he hasn’t asked you, chances are he is not ready, or doesn’t want to take the next step.  It doesn’t hurt to have a conversation and make sure you are on the same page.  No one wants to date a guy for two years and then find out that all along he had been planing to go to Australia. But by the same token don’t keep asking him the same question over and over.  That’s the last thing he will want to complain about!

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