A startling new survey has revealed that over two-thirds of people living with HIV in the UK don’t feel comfortable revealing their status to potential partners.
Conducted by Gilead, the survey titled “HIV is: Expectations from Life” interviewed 3,245 adults living with and without HIV and discovered that 68% of those living with the virus had their dating life affected by their fear of disclosing their status.
The results revealed that HIV-positive people in the UK face more stigma than other countries in Europe, with 44% of UK participants confessing that stigma is holding them back from a long-term relationship. That’s compared to 28% who feel that way in France, 25% in Germany, 17% in Spain and 12% in Italy.
The survey also found that 31% of people living with HIV expect to be single, while no one surveyed without the virus reported having the same fear. Those living with HIV also said they expect to live shorter lives than people who are HIV-negative.
The survey simply gathered the data, rather than also make conclusions from it, but ultimately revealed that stigma is still strong for people living with the virus. It served as a reminder that a lack of education is preventing people from living happy, healthy lives with HIV.
Matthew Hodson, the executive director of NAM and Aidsmap told Gay Star News that most people living with the virus have experienced being rejected after disclosing their status. He also said that dating apps have created a platform where people feel comfortable expressing their prejudice towards those living with HIV.
“A blanket rejection of anyone with HIV means that fewer men feel able to be open and honest,” Hodson said. “This silence around HIV status contributes to ongoing ignorance and fear.”