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Gay men are battling a demon more powerful than HIV – and it’s hidden | Owen Jones

Nov 2nd, 2016 by

Mental distress triggered by deep-rooted homophobia in society drives many LGBT people to abuse drink and drugs, and to harm themselves

It had been three years since I’d met up with my first boyfriend – let’s call him Steven. When he walked into a Brixton pub in June, it was a shock. I’d first met him well over a decade ago, and back then he was sporty, a bit of a health freak: other than the usual occasional student alcohol binge, relatively strait-laced. This Steven had dilated pupils, red marks on his arms, and his head jerked erratically as he spoke manically. He was addicted to crystal meth, and had an abusive relationship with other drugs and alcohol.

Related: Olly Alexander: ‘You start to think you’re alone and crazy but help is out there’

Related: Breaking the taboo over the mental health crisis among Britain’s gay men

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