Studies Show Fewer Gay Teens Seek HIV Testing
There is a reason that HIV is once again on the rise for young homosexual men. A recent study revealed that only about 20% of individuals in this high-risk group have ever been tested for the disease. Testing is critical for multiple reasons. For example, it can aid in the prevention of further transmission as well as get the infected individual lifesaving treatment. So why are so few getting tested?
“Where Can I Get an HIV Test?”
One of the primary reasons that young gay men say they have never been tested is because they simply do not know where to go for testing. One suggestion is that schools begin to provide testing, so that teens do not need to look for a place to get tested.
“What If Someone Sees Me?”
No one wants to be known as the kid at school with HIV. It is still tough enough for many gay teens to be known as a homosexual. Now add to that the stigma of being seen going for testing. It sends a message that kids don’t want to broadcast in world full of bullies and fearmongering.
“It Will Never Happen to Me”
Most teens feel invincible. They may say, “I take precautions. I’ll never get it,” or, “I know my partner isn’t infected.” Unfortunately, that sort of thinking is the perfect breeding ground for the spread of HIV.
The Wrong Trend
In 2008, a study of gay 18 and 19-year-old males showed that three-quarters had been tested for HIV. The drop in the number of young men getting tested has fallen significantly in just a few short years. This is a big deal when we’re talking about the single highest-risk group on the planet for the contraction of HIV.
Researchers see knowledge and ease of access as the primary means to combat this negative trend. Providing testing in schools would take away some of the stigma and make it easier for teens to get tested. This, in turn, can lead to greater prevention and earlier treatment, something vital for a high success rate.