Wednesday, May 5, 2010

HIV is not a gay disease

via, by Chris Ward

The gay community is very aware of HIV. Indeed, the infection used to go by the name of gay-related immune deficiency (Grid) before it was discovered to have been transmitted through other non-sexual means such as intravenous drug use. It seems that history can leave quite a mark, not just in the perceptions of individual members of society, but within the guidelines of public organisations too. It is still the case, although hopefully not for much longer, that once a man has had sex with another man, even with a condom, they are banned from giving blood for life.

In every year since 1999, most new diagnoses of HIV have been through heterosexual contact. Although many point out that a good chunk of these infections are believed to have been contracted abroad, statistically meaning that in the UK you are still less likely to be infected if you engage in heterosexual activities, the numbers are still very chilling. It proves convincingly that many heterosexuals do not consider HIV to be an infection likely to affect them. The myth of the gay disease may have heightened awareness of HIV among gays, but it has also sent a wave of complacency across the heterosexual community.

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