Steroids are those hormones that are soluble in lipids. E.g. estrogen, testosterone. GH is NOT a steroid, contrary to the misinformation provided by some media. Insulin, like GH, is a hormone, but a peptide. Hormones are NATURALLY occurring in your body and essential for it to work right.
In the U.S. AAS were not illegal until 1988. They were not controlled until 1991, when, despite the advice NOT to control them, by ALL agencies involved, Congress chose to ignore the advice and evidence of the experts and made them a Schedule III controlled substance. Of course, there is no beef that is NOT treated with trenbolone in the U.S. unless it's labeled organic, so we all make testosterone (an AAS) and also inject synthetic AAS from the food chain and livestock production. GH given to dairy cattle (not an AAS, but a hormone) for better milk production, and it's added to many baby formulas for improved infant growth. That's part of the reason why we're taller than in years prior. After the 1991 Omnibus Drug Bill, there was a growth industry created in law enforcement, and a media frenzy, etc.
To date, no deaths are attributable to AAS. Anytime the media has made the false claims the medical community has stepped up (the doctors of the persons taking the "juice", or the American Cancer Society, or The American Heart Association) and said, no, that's just not the case.
Although estrogen therapy has been a standard for women for years, there's been a taboo up until just recently against testosterone. As guys like me age, we're insisting on HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) and it's many benefits (protection of the heart, lower bp, prevention of osteoporosis, prevention of Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's, more lean muscle mass, fewer illnesses, better libidio, protection against diseases of aging, and a strong sense of well being.) Even heavy steroid use in athletes, and HIV patients, after nearly 60 years has not shown side effects to that outway the benefits. HRT has become so popular that the endocrinologists have lobbied the Congress to remove testosterone from the Schedule III list. To date, that effort has been unsuccessful.
In a 1999 study at UNT (University of North Texas) even heavy AAS users (pro bodybuilders) were found to have significant lower mortality than other folks. (They live LONGER, have lower disease, and a higher quality of life.)
Much like pot, the dangers are vastly over-stated, and the benefits vastly understated, and that's one thing both athletes and the vast majority of the medical community agree upon. There are NO bodies.
If you go to Google and type in "bodybuilding" or "anabolic steroid" or "AAS", or "anti-aging" you should find a multitude of muscle boards, where you'll find many studies, and 1000s and 1000s of articles about use.
You can also view HBO's Real Sports #99, ABC 20/20's article, or the movie "Bigger, Stronger, Faster" to get a more realistic view of AAS.
Obesity remains the single largest killer, by far, in the U.S.
Technology, be it the equipment, the technique, the training method, is not immoral, in my view. It's been part of sport since the beginning of time. There is inherent risk in anything we do, be it watching tv, or crossing the street, or driving, or jumping out of an airplane. As humans we use sound judgment (hopefully) to decide if we want to accept those risks. With AAS, and given nearly 60 years of evidence, that risk seems to be negligible to the health, mental, and cosmetic benefits.
From an ethics perspective, in true competition, it's hard to know where to draw the lines. E.g., in NASCAR, there's a very long list of specs that each car HAS to have. If you win a NASCAR race, your car is torn apart to make sure it meets every last spec. Clearly, folks like Lance Armstrong don't win just because of item x, or item y. They combine smart techology with natural ability and smart training to attain an end goal.
If folks can be fat, have nose jobs, or take estrogen, if a man has a cosmetic goal it certainly shouldn't be considered criminal in my view.
In a 2006 (maybe 2007) study, the GAO (General Accounting Office) profiled AAS users for Congress, and The DEA. The study found that AAS users are above average intelligence, make more money, are better educated, are more risk adverse, middle aged, and live longer, with a higher quality of life than their peers. They presented to Congress that lowering use is difficult with this group of folks for obvious reasons: they're bright and can think on their own.
You need to educate yourself. Asking the pack mentality of the gay community isn't your best source of information. Many, many, many, athletes use AAS every day, illegal, or not. Many, many folks use HRT, legally, and are much the better off for it. AAS have been a godsend for HIV patients.
You have to decide on your own, after doing your research.
In reality, the biggest risk of AAS is by far the legal one. Being fat is way more dangerous than AAS for your health.
AAS, and GH, are NOT a magic potion. They allow you to recover and promote muscle retention, (anabolic state). Guys in magazines have YEARS of training, great genes, and know every trick in the book to look good. Bodybuilding is cosmetic, but, to get that look you have to be INCREDIBLY fit, and very strong, and to have worked very hard. The single contributing factor, with or without AAS, is CALORIES. Some folks don't have the patience, discipline, genes, training smarts, ambition, to get a certain look. AAS does NOT change that.