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What Gay Men Still Don’t Know About AIDS

A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation in the USA revealed some pretty shocking evidence on levels of ignorance about HIV/AIDS in the gay community.

The findings of the study include:

  • Only a third of the participants knew that HIV infections are increasing among gay men.
  • Not even half the men (46 percent) knew that doctors recommend that people who are newly diagnosed with HIV begin antiretroviral therapy immediately.

But perhaps the most disturbing findings seem to reflect a stunning failure taking place in actual health care settings.

  • 56 percent of the men surveyed said a doctor has never recommended that they get tested for HIV.
  • 47 percent of the men said they’ve never discussed their sexual orientation with a doctor or other healthcare professional.

Results like this shine a light on the fact that homophobia remains alive and well in doctor’s offices. Too many patients continue to refuse to even tell their primary doctor they’re gay, and too many doctors are refusing to ask about their patient’s sexual behavior, thereby endangering their patient’s health.

Great progress has been made over the past decade to educate, test for and treat HIV, and many lives have been saved. But when it comes to even the basics of HIV education, apparently there’s still a very long way to go.