The health risks of anal sex are well documented but poorly publicised. The delicate columnar epithelium of the rectum makes it highly susceptible to syphilis, gonorrhoea, HIV and other viral infections predisposing to anal cancer. Anal squamous epithelial lesions are now found in 36% of HIV positive gay men (Sex Trans Dis 1997; 24:14). Furthermore breakage and slippage rates for condom use in anal sex are 32% and 21% (respectively six and three times higher than for vaginal sex)(AIDS 1998; 12(5): 495-503).
But whilst doctors would consider it negligent not to warn their patients of the health dangers of smoking, excessive alcohol, poor diet and lack of exercise; most are reluctant to highlight the dangers of anal sex. Nor does the health of its homosexual citizens appear to be a leading priority for government.
The Bible is clear that homosexual acts are wrong and their associated high health risks should come as no surprise. No one is saying that as Christian doctors we should judge our homosexual patients or deny them good medical care. But, as well as being vehicles of God's mercy and compassion, Christian witness also involves being informed in an atmosphere of ignorance and misinformation and speaking the truth about risks to health. Even at the cost of incurring the wrath of the politically correct. If we remain silent, we share the blame.