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How Healthy Is Homosexuality?

Sir Iqbal Sacranie, head of the Muslim Council of Britain, caused a storm of protest when, asked during a BBC radio interview in January 2006 if he thought homosexuality was harmful to society, he replied, “Certainly it is a practice that in terms of health, in terms of the moral issues that come along in a society, it is. It is not acceptable.”1 High-profile homosexuals reacted angrily to his remarks. One openly-gay Conservative MP declared, for instance, that “[t]his is an absurd medieval view. One should separate the religious from the secular.”2

Far from Sir Iqbal’s remarks being merely a “medieval” reflection of his Islamic faith, however, a number of recent scientific medical studies have confirmed his view that homosexual practice is harmful to health—indeed, alarmingly so. These adverse medical consequences derive from various aspects of male homosexual behavior: 95% of men engage in oral-genital contact (mouth-penis), 85% of men engage in oral-rectal contact (mouth-anus), and 80% in anal intercourse, each of which carries significant health risks.3 This is made worse by the typically high levels of promiscuity amongst the gay community that facilitates the rapid spread of any disease.4 As the AIDS epidemic amongst homosexual men has shown, this can quite literally have lethal consequences.

But the problems are not confined to AIDS alone. A host of other sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) affect homosexuals, with one study finding that at least 75% of homosexual men have had a history of one or more STDs,5 far higher than the general population. Apart from the potentially serious conditions of gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia, the most common non-viral infections among gay men are amebiasis (affecting 25-40%), giardiasis (10-30%), and shigellosis (10-20%).6 Collectively these diseases are sometimes referred to as gay bowel syndrome and cause inflammation of various parts of the lower digestive tract resulting in abdominal bloating, cramps, nausea, and severe diarrhea. All are associated with oral-anal or oral genital contact following anal intercourse. In the past such infections were almost unknown.

Viral diseases common among gay men include, in order of prevalence, anal warts (affecting 30-40% and having a strong link with anal cancer, the incidence of which is rapidly increasing amongst homosexuals);7 herpes (10-20%, which can cause anal ulcers and so open up the path to more serious infections like HIV/AIDS),8 and hepatitis A and B. American studies indicate that hepatitis A (HBA) is present in approximately 40% of homosexual men, of whom 5-7% acquire it annually.9 The disease produces flu-like symptoms of fever, headache, and vomiting, giving way to jaundice as the liver becomes infected. HBA is, however, mild compared to hepatitis B which can result in chronic fatigue, chronic liver disease, and sometimes death. Since there is no effective cure for the disease, those who contract it become long-term carriers, and, since the virus is present in all bodily fluids, it is easily spread by all forms of homosexual practice—studies show at least 65% of gay men carry the disease and around 16% contract it annually10 If anyone is inclined to doubt the peril, he should simply visit gay health-alert sites to see the alarm and stern warnings that physicians express over common homosexual practices.11

And if these physical illnesses were not enough, homosexuality is also linked to mental vulnerability: homosexuals are more likely to attempt to commit suicide than members of the general population,12 and also more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.13 Because of all this, the terrible consequence of the so-called “gay” lifestyle is a reduction in life expectancy of around 25-30 years; few homosexual men live to see old age.14 Paul referred in Romans 1:27 to “men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” This sad litany shows just how awful this penalty can be.15


David Sanderson, “Gays Are Immoral, Says Top Muslim,” The Times, January 4, 2006, (accessed May 1, 2007).


Alan Duncan, quoted, Ibid.


All of the following footnotes and facts and figures in the above article come from Dr. Linda Stalley’s, “The Homosexual Lifestyle from a Christian Medical Perspective,” in The Christian Response to the Gay Agenda (London: Reform and Cost of Conscience, 1997) (accessed May 1, 2007). The Kairos Journal has changed the style of the footnotes. A. P. Bell, and M. S.Weinberg, Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity among Men and Women (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1978). Dr. Linda Stalley explains the problems associated with anal intercourse as follows: “it is helpful to understand a little of the anatomy relating to the rectum and anus in contrast with that of the vagina. The female vagina is designed to receive an erect penis during sexual intercourse and also to be the passageway through which a child is born. As such, the lining of the vagina (mucosa) is several cells thick, providing appropriate protection, and also secretes chemicals which afford further protection against organisms such as bacteria. The anus is a tight muscle which is designed to close tightly in order to prevent the leakage of rectal contents but which can also relax in order to void these contents appropriately. The lining of the rectum is only one cell thick, unlike that of the vagina. During the act of anal intercourse extremely high pressures are needed to insert the erect penis through the anal sphincter into the rectum. This inevitably causes trauma to the anal muscle, the rectal mucosa and to the penis. It is for this reason that relaxant drugs are frequently used by homosexuals. In addition to this the chemicals contained within the semen actually digest the thin rectal mucosa making it porous and thus permeable to bacteria present within faeces.” Further explanation of the problems associated with homosexual practice can be found in Thomas Schmidt, Straight and Narrow? Compassion and Clarity in the Homosexuality Debate (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995).


See Stalley, Ibid. and Schmidt, Ibid.


Bell and Weinberg, Ibid. Stalley adds that homosexuals are the main reservoir of syphilis infections in the U.K. Stalley, Ibid.


T. C. Quinn, “Clinical Approach to Intestinal Infections in Homosexual Men,” The Medical Clinics of North America 70, no. 3 (1986): 611-634.


Ibid., 615, 619; J. Daling, et al., “Sexual Practices, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and the Incidence of Anal Cancer,” New England Journal of Medicine 317 (1987): 973-977.


K. Jay and A. Young, The Gay Report (New York: Summit, 1979), 691-692; Messiah et. al., “Factors Correlated with Homosexually Acquired Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection in the Era of ‘Safer Sex,” Sexually Transmitted Diseases 20 (January/February 1993): 51-58.


E. B. Keefe, “Clinical Approach to Viral Hepatitis in Homosexual Men,” The Medical Clinics of North America 70, no. 3 (1986): 567-573, 582.


Ibid., 573-582.


See, for example, “Hepatitis 101 for Gay and Bi-Sexual Men,” Public Health: Seattle and King Country Website, (accessed January 21, 2008); “Hepatitis: A Guide for Gay and Bisexual Men,” Wiltshire and Swindon: Men’s Sexual Health Website, (accessed January 21, 2008). Also, an U.S. study that came out in January 2008 found a prevalence of drug resistant staph infections among gays. “Drug-Resistant Staph Passed in Gay Sex—U.S. Study,” Reuters, January 14, 2008, (accessed January 22, 2008).


Bell and Weinberg found that 35% of male homosexuals had seriously considered or attempted suicide compared with 11% of male heterosexuals. See Bell and Weinberg, Ibid. ; Jay and Young found that 18% of male homosexuals had actually attempted suicide, compared with 3% of male heterosexuals. See Jay and Young, Ibid.


The combined results of two surveys showed that, of 405 homosexual men studied, 47% had a history of alcohol abuse (compared to 24% of males generally) and 51% had a history of drug abuse (compared to 7% of males generally). Williams et. al., “Multidisciplinary Baseline Assessment of Homosexual Men etc.” Archives of General Psychiatry 48 (February 1991): 124-130. P. H. Rosenberger et. al. Comprehensive Psychiatry 34 (May/June 1993).


Fewer than 2% of homosexuals survive to 65 or older. Cameron, Playfair, and Wellum, “The Longevity of Homosexuals Before and After the Aids epidemic,” Omega: Journal of Death and Dying 29, no. 3 (1994): 249-272.


See Kairos Journal Insight article, "The Church’s Ministry to Homosexuals."