- And one in three gay patients avoid the doctor as they fear being judged.
Gay men are putting off getting sex infection symptoms checked out and treated for longer than straight men.
That’s according to a new survey which reveals one in three gay men have left an STI symptom unchecked for 12 weeks. That compares to an average of eight weeks for straight men.
Private healthcare provider Zava carried out the survey.
And they also confirmed the crisis in providing PrEP to all the gay and bi men that want it. Taken correctly, the tablets are extremely effective in preventing people getting HIV, even if they have sex without condoms.
Zava found that 23% of sites trialling providing PrEP were closed to gay and bi men. That’s despite England’s National Health Service expanding the trial to 10,000 to 26,000 men.
In London the situation is even more acute. Nine out of 24 clinics are not accepting more gay men on the trial. And in the east of England, 10 of the 15 registered clinics are full or ‘paused’ to gay men.
And that’s forcing more men to buy the tablets privately online. Some are worried about having to use sites they don’t trust. Meanwhile others simply can’t afford the monthly cost of the PrEP drug.
Worryingly, this means that one in eight (13%) admit that they’ve had an HIV scare while waiting for PrEP.
One in three gay patients avoid doctors for fear of being judged
Zava’s research also shows:
- 27 per cent of gay patients have experienced discrimination from their local health services.
- 42% of gay men feel judged when accessing primary care or sexual health services compared to 22% of straight men
- Half of gay men say there aren’t enough sexual health services for them locally.
- A third say it’s hard to get appointments at sexual health clinics
- 41% say waiting lists are too long at clinics.
- One in three gay patients avoid the doctor as they fear being judged.
Online doctor Zava is a private provider of STI and HIV treatment and can provide PrEP, including the vital tests needed to take it safely.
Dr Babak Ashrafi, GP and PrEP service lead said: ‘It’s worrying to see that gay patients are facing issues accessing medical help from their local services.
‘When it comes to health and particularly our sexual health, being able to access support sooner rather than later is really important.
‘We think that accessing medical services should never be a struggle.’