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Gay men ‘unaware of HIV symptoms’

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  1. this is very worrying indeed! when will gay men in particular start taking this matter seriously?

    1. The article didn’t even mention how old the men were who were surveyed. I’m sure it’s a generational thing. Teenagers and 20-something guys nowadays weren’t even born yet when AIDS was so widespread and caused so much hysteria. Over the last few years, I’ve noticed a huge increase in the number of gay porn films featuring unprotected bareback sex. I’m sure those young actors and their real-life counterparts have convinced themselves that AIDS and HIV are simply a part of history now. Kids that age always think they’re invulnerable to anything dangerous. Very sad, but I guess they’ll have to learn the truth through experience, just like the previous generation did…

  2. If you say instead “men unaware of HIV symptoms” it will be more accurate, because as much as we like to think that as gays we are like a ghetto apart –irony here- we tend to be embedded in the same ignorance –or knowledge- of the rest of the population. So when health campaigns fail to the general public, fail to us too. And hey, why should straight be aware of HIV symptoms if –as the title accidentally implies- that disease is a gay one? Yes, you can address the gay community, but sadly enough those who -for whatever reason- are still out of the gay system, to say it so, won’t be reached.

    1. Maybe it’s because they only asked gay men for this study.

      I agree with your statement though and I don’t think many people would recognise the symptoms of HIV gay/straight male/female.

    2. Jock S. Trap 21 Jul 2011, 8:26am

      The biggest problem is while they incorrectly portray this as a Gay disease they ignore the fact that HIV does affect everyone.
      They need to stop treating it as a discriminating issue and treat it as an equal issue then maybe All will start to listen.

  3. Staircase2 20 Jul 2011, 5:47pm

    The headline though makes the story seem like its about something else.
    I’m not surprised about so few people understanding those early indicators of HIV infection.
    The idea of catching HIV that early on is a recent phenomenon. This has not been something which any kind of public education has been aimed at as yet.
    This research is designed to create PR on the subject – which is a good thing.
    But we must not get carried away in thinking that this is blanket ‘ignorance’ or ‘denial’ in gay men.
    This is a very new area which needs to be addressed in a new way.

    1. Jock S. Trap 21 Jul 2011, 8:32am

      Actually I disagree with that because when I was diagnosed 15 years ago I went because of the ‘early symptoms’ as described here which is why they think they diagnosed me early. So that education has always been out there but sadly like everything else about this illness the message is getting lost on a generation.

      We need new campaigns to address these issue surrounding this illness and hard hitting ones too but different ones to aim at different people to get this message through.

      The one size fits all campaign is clearly not working any more and if anything is being left behind. Time for a fresh approach.

    2. Infection route and ethnicity

      In 2009, 51% (32,214) of persons living with diagnosed HIV where route of exposure were reported were men and women infected via heterosexual sex (11,889 and 20,325 respectively) and 43% (27,427) were men infected through sex between men. A small proportion were infected through injecting drug use (2%, 1,547) or mother-to-child transmission (2%, 1,372).
      In 2009, just over half (52%, 33,451) of persons accessing HIV-related care where ethnicity was reported were white, the majority of whom were infected through sex between men (74%, 23,958). Over one-third of persons (36%, 23,288) seen for care were black-African, the majority of these individuals (93%, 21,251) were infected through heterosexual sex.

      Figure 1: Diagnosed HIV-infected individuals seen for care by prevention group and ethnic group, UK (PDF, 83 KB)

      Figure 2: HIV-infected individuals seen for care by ethnicity, UK: 2000 and 2009 (PDF, 94 KB)

  4. But would straight people know what the symptoms were of HIV? We have 400 TV channels filled largely with… well, filler, and not enough by way of instructional programs, science programs, self-help and health. This sort of knowledge should be second nature to us as a whole population, but instead we concern ourselves with garbage pumped out by Simon Cowell and his ilk.

  5. This is a compelling reason to mandate STD education in secondary schools, for all pupils whether parents like it or not.

    1. Yes! Absolutely.

    2. Jock S. Trap 21 Jul 2011, 8:34am

      Your correct, Robert. It is now paramount that all schools stop teaching this problemn in a discriminating way and teach all equally as it does affect all equally.

  6. Spanner1960 20 Jul 2011, 7:37pm

    This is utter crap.
    Most initial symptoms are very similar to a bad cold, and doubt any GP would recognise it for what it was without a blood test. They would just send them packing and tell them to take paracetamol and keep warm.
    This is sheer scaremongering. Every poor gay lad that has sex and then catches a cold is going to have the fear of God put into them because they fear the worst.
    The unfortunate thing is, by the time you have the symptoms, it’s probably too late to do much about it anyway. The best way of knowing is going for regular 6 monthly blood tests.

    1. “The best way of knowing is going for regular 6 monthly blood tests.”

      Unfortunately, I tend to agree.

    2. @Spanner1960

      I would defend some GPs, who if the patient was honest about potential risk factors may consider HIV as a potential differential diagnosis that required exclusion – unfortunately as you rightly say the triad of symptoms of concern could be a simple viral infection that self resolves and self management advice is often likely to be given. HIV is a condition most GPs should consider (and certainly in areas such as London, Manchester, Glasgow, Brighton etc many do) but often its a last thought – and try and consider other conditions that fit the signs and symptoms first.
      In that sense your comments on 6 monthly testing is completely right.

    3. I dunno, maybe I’m speaking for a very small subsection of the community but when I read this type of article it freaks me the hell out. I have a cough right now, and I’m getting all hypochondriac about it even though my boyfriend and I were a little obsessive about testing when we got together and I know I’m ok. Is it really so common for people not to be aware of HIV, or morbidly terrified of it? Perhaps articles like this do help after all if they scare you into protecting yourself.

      1. You might be suffering from mild health phobia?

        1. Or totally insane health phobia, which is probably closer to the truth. *gets inside giant bubble*

  7. I’d consider myself fairly educated on sexual health stuff but I have to admit that I didn’t know about those three symptoms :(

  8. What are the symptoms?

  9. I currently have a fever and a sore throat.

    I must make sure I get to the doctors in the morning and demand a blood test!

    1. Rich (original) 21 Jul 2011, 12:00am


      1. Reported

      2. Also reported.

      3. Jock S. Trap 21 Jul 2011, 11:43am

        Reported it 3 hours ago and it’s still here!

        Do we really have to put up with this abuse PinkNews?

        1. The report system seems to be more of a scarecrow than an active implementation. I did report it yesterday yet still…

        2. Reported now for over 10 days – come on PN this is outrageous and you are in neglect of your standards of decency

  10. Rich (original) 20 Jul 2011, 11:59pm


    1. Spanner1960 21 Jul 2011, 8:51am

      I assume you are including yourself?

    2. if only 16% are stupid then the majority aren’t which I think is probably more of a majority than the straight population

      1. Absolutely, Hamish

        Certainly more than those in the population who live with a “bigoted” badge on their shirt

  11. You can educate people until you are blue in the face. But if people don’t want to be educated and informed, they won’t.

    Many people like to be ignorant and stay that way. Shame. As it is not only putting themselves at risk, but their partners as well.

    Must all take HIV/AIDS seriously

    1. Jock S. Trap 21 Jul 2011, 8:41am

      Trouble is we tend to have a one size fits all campaign when as in life that doesn’t work. We are all different and one good campaign will work for some but not for others. We have to invest in different ways of campaigning to get out there and reach as many people as possible.

      However not just about HIV but all STDs and their effects, esp if left untreated.

      1. although I rarely agree with u Mr Trap – on this subject I do – But Please People they are not STDs they are STIs lets get the basics right before we try to re-programme the world’s ignorant – They are Infections not Diseases.

    2. Spanner1960 21 Jul 2011, 8:55am

      radical53: “Shame. As it is not only putting themselves at risk, but their partners as well.”
      Sorry, I don’t buy that. Gay men continue to blame others, other men, other times, the doctors, the government, the drink or the drugs made them do it etc etc. You and you alone are responsible for your own personal health and welfare. If you choose to ignore the information, then it is totally your own fault. Gay men are positively deluged with HIV/AIDS information and facilities, so one cannot say you weren’t warned.

      1. True. Agreed.

  12. Jock S. Trap 21 Jul 2011, 8:23am

    Very worrying indeed.

    This is why we need to have a non disciminatory education system that teaches the dangers of HIV and other STD’s and the message that goes with having safer sex.

    To not teach this is an education system that fails. After all schools are there to provide for children and young adults and prepare them for adult life.

    It is criminal not to and truthfully I think it amounts to abuse to not make aware.

  13. I didn’t know about the 3 symptoms to be fair.

  14. education on safe sex! NOW! don’t understand why so many gay men still practice unsafe sex. of course, hiv affects everyone but also true that gay men are particularly at risk!


    1. You haven’t been tested in 11 years? Get tested mate…

      1. Spanner1960 22 Jul 2011, 10:26am

        Well, sorry to be frank here, but had you been infected and not been treated in 11 years you wouldn’t be here to type this…

        1. brian o'blivion 26 Jul 2011, 1:00am

          that’s rubbish spanner1960

        2. Factually unlikely to be true, Spanner

          Lots of new diagnoses currently are believed to have contracted HIV between 5-15 years ago and due to lack of willingness to seek testing have been unaware of their condition

  16. Put this in context with the number of young men you see on gaydar talking about ‘taking loads’ and ‘need breeding’ and it really hammers home that there is something wrong with either the education or the perception of the disease.

  17. Safe sex always and live a long and happy gay life.

  18. Gay men “unaware of HIV symptoms” Shouldn’t it say most of the population are unaware of HIV symptoms. Gay people are not the only people to acquire HIV. I believe Black Africans are high risk and IVDU – campaigns need to target the whole population and not demonize gay people all the time for the spread of HIV.

  19. John Richard Allan 24 Jul 2011, 12:45am

    Buyer beware: The same 60% of gay men often describe themselves as “healthy”, “clean”, “d&d free” ub2 in their online profiles.

    Remember kids, HIV status = positive, unknown/undiagnosed. PERIOD. Any sexual active adult who claims otherwise (i.e. identifies as “HIV negative” on an online “dating” (and I use that term loosely) website is an ASSHOLE or at the very least a FOOL because as we all know even condoms are NOT 100% effective and “safe sex only” is no guarantee.

    As Jade Elektra sez in her song HIVogue… “if you ain’t gettin’ tested every week, you just don’t know.” The time is NOW for gay (and for that matter, straight) “dating”/chat sites like, Gaydar, Adam4Adam, Manhunt and for that matter, etc. to wake up, smell the colostomy bag and ban the word “HIV negative” from use on member profiles and STOP perpetuating this widespread, systematic mis-information about HIV status.

    1. John Richard Allan 24 Jul 2011, 12:45am

      A friendly reminder to undiagnosed sexually active adults: unless you are in possession of a magic device jammed into your veins 24/7/365 constantly monitoring your blood, your HIV status is UNKNOWN, even if you just walked out of a doctor’s office with a “negative” test result because “negative” HIV results are expired information upon receipt! Don’t fool yourself and others into a dangerous false sense of security throwing around the word “HIV negative” or you’ll end up one of the 60% of gay men referenced in this article.

      JADE ELEKTRA – HIVogue

    2. ...westie... 4 Sep 2011, 7:37pm

      “Buyer beware: The same 60% of gay men often describe themselves as “healthy”, “clean”, “d&d free” ub2 in their online profiles. ”

      I couldnt agree more with your comments John. Gay men and dating websites need to wake up and take HIV / STI’s seriously.

  20. I posted some cock pics on a hook up site recently and was overwhelmed with the number of bottoms that contacted me looking for sex. I came to the conclusion that there were far more bottoms than tops and that it probably does have something to with penis size.

    But I think it’s also related to the way in which gay men venerate traditional notions masculinity where a top = ‘real’ man.

    Would be interesting to see more research into the sexual roles of gay men and identity.

    1. You just showing off here? lol

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