Comment: We've got to change gay men's attitudes to cut HIV

Published: November 30, 2010

It’s almost 30 years since the first cases of AIDS were diagnosed and the HIV epidemic among UK gay men shows no real signs of abating. According to figures released last week, in 2009, a total of 2,760 gay men in the UK learnt that they had the virus.

With the right treatment and care, most of these men will have a more or less normal life expectancy.

But at the very least, having HIV will make their lives harder, and for a good number it will involve both physical and psychological pain and suffering.

One of the reasons for this is huge amount of stigma that still surrounds HIV.

Indifference, hostility, contempt and even hatred characterises the response of far too many gay men to their HIV-positive peers. This doesn’t only hurt feelings and blight opportunities: stigma contributes to the continued spread of the virus and it also leads to needless deaths.

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