But HIV isn’t a 'gay disease' anymore, is it?
HIV has never been a 'gay disease', anyone can contract it.
However, statistically in the UK men who have sex with men (MSM) remain at significantly more risk of contracting HIV than their heterosexual counterparts, and they are at more risk of contracting the virus today than at any time since the onset of the epidemic 30 years ago.
Certain behaviours make it more likely that someone will contract HIV in the UK, including anal and (to some extent) oral sex between men. Nearly one in 12 gay or bisexual men in London (one in seven on the ‘gay scene’ itself) are now living with HIV, as are one in 20 gay or bisexual men in the rest of the country. These figures make it statistically far more likely that sex between two men will be where one partner has HIV and the other does not, than sex between a man and a woman. Additionally, about one in five gay men who have HIV don’t yet know it, because they remain untested.
It is unhelpful to play down the devastating impact that HIV has had on gay communities in the UK and the very great and disproportionate HIV vulnerability that gay men still face. We consistently call for investment in initiatives that improve the sexual health of gay men in the UK. While HIV is not a ‘gay disease’ it is a huge issue for gay men.