Thirty years since HIV was discovered and young gay men still lack important information about the virus
New research reveals that less than half of men new about treatment to prevent transmission...
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Today marks the 30th anniversary of the discovery of the HIV virus.
During this time, awareness of the virus and the means in which to prevent it have been at the forefront of the gay community. But there's still a long way to, and alarming new research from the National AIDS Trust reveals that many young gay and bisexual males are still not armed with the correct information they need to protect themselves.
Throughout the last ten years, the amount of young males contracting HIV has doubled. This makes it even more important that both gay and bisexual males are well educated about HIV.
A recent survey has revealed that less than half of the males asked we aware that emergency HIV treatment used to prevent transmission, PEP, can be taken up to 72 hours after the risk of infection. This is essential knowledge that must be known by gay and bisexual men, since PEP treatment is potentially lifesaving.
Many of the young males surveyed were also unaware of the facts about living with HIV, with almost a third thinking that being infected with HIV means that you can’t work as a chef, cabin crew or with people that have mental health issues. This simply isn’t true; the only job that HIV restricts you from is working in the front-line armed forces.
Despite this, gay and bisexual males are much more clued up about HIV than the general population, with 80% of gay males, compared with 16% of the general population, knowing that if HIV is diagnosed on time and treated correctly a person can still have a normal life expectancy.
It's vital in 2014 that we, as gay and bisexual men, know as much about HIV as possible.
The NAT is conducting a nation-wide survey, Boys Who Like Boys: A Survey of Understanding About Sex, which aims to better understand where young gay and bi guys learn about sex, relationships and HIV.
The survey is now open and NAT are looking for as many gay and bisexual men, aged 14-19, as possible to take part. Click here and do your part, today.
Words Francesca McPherson