HIV- A threat to gay men

  • By Dr. Shalini Kapoor

It was in the early 1980s that a study reported that AIDS was more common in gay men, than in heterosexual people. In Canada alone, among the total number of AIDS cases reported throughout the country, around 80 percent of the patients were gay men. In 2001, of all the cases of AIDS reported, 46.4 percent were gay people. A study has also reported that around 15 percent of gay people living in the cities are HIV positive and hence, the medical fraternity believes that HIV is a greater threat to people belonging to the gay community.

Unsafe Sex Practices

In most countries, gay men are still being treated with discrimination and prejudice. Although many organizations have now come forward to bring about an awareness regarding homosexuality and are helping these people get their due respect in society, a lot of communities still do not accept it as a natural relationship and try to distance themselves from gay men. Due to this, gay people try to conceal or hide their identity and even refuse to accept their sexual orientation. Also, many do not take the necessary safety measures while having sex. Since the first outburst of HIV in the gay community more than 3 decades ago, gay people have been constantly advised to ensure safe sex and avoid anal intercourse that is unprotected. In addition, they should not get involved in sex with causal partners, whose HIV status is not known. However, isolation, fear of rejection, low self-esteem and even mental health problems lead to unsafe sex practices amongst gay men.

Discrimination and prejudice force gay people to live in isolation and conceal their sexual activities, leading to unprotected casual sex, which may result in AIDS.

Has the Risk of HIV Decreased in Gay Men?

Gay men, like all other people, get an HIV infection from their HIV positive partners, if they’ve had unprotected intercourse. Due to the awareness created by major medical institutions and health organizations, in the recent years, gay men have started adapting safety measures to ensure that they do not get infected by HIV. This has certainly brought down the number of HIV infections and the statistics say so. However, the number of HIV tests carried out in many quarters of the world have come out positive, as several gay men in urban areas still continue to have unprotected anal intercourse with partners who are just casual acquaintances.

There is another reason why it is more common among the urbanites. The urban community of gay people believes that new anti-HIV drugs can protect them from this infection and hence, are fearless in their sexual approach. These drugs have not been declared highly effective in HIV prevention. Moreover, due to social pressures and discrimination issues, many gay men suffer from mental problems, that also make them more careless towards casual sex. So, this means that the danger of an HIV infection still looms over the heads of gay men and they should take better preventive measures to keep themselves protected.

Educating Gay Men

It is important that these men should get their respect. Moreover, instead of treating them differently, the social organizations and health communities should come forward to promote awareness about healthy and protected sex practices. It is very important to make them aware about the effects of a specific anti-HIV drug and its effectiveness. Only then, the world can prevent the gay community from the threat of HIV.