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Two thirds of people living with HIV too scared to disclose their status to dates, new survey finds

Two thirds of people living with HIV too scared to disclose their status to dates, new survey finds

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Over two thirds of people living with HIV (PLWHIV) in the UK are too scared to reveal their status to potential partners, according to a shocking new survey.

The ‘HIV is: Expectations from Life’ survey found 68% of PLWHIV said a fear of disclosing their status has impacted their decision to go on dates.

Conducted by Gilead, the survey shows an overall increased fear in people living with HIV over people who aren’t.

It surveyed people in the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy and found stigma is the worst in the UK.

In fact, more than two fifths (44%) of PLWHIV in the UK say stigma is a barrier to a long-term relationship/marriage.

This is compared to 25% in Germany, 28% in France, 17% in Spain, 12% in Italy.

A HIV diagnosis can still have a great impact on mental health
A HIV diagnosis can still have a great impact on mental health Pixabay | Public Domain

Surprisingly, 31% of people living with HIV expect to be single. This is compared with no one expecting to be single living without HIV.

This is because they’re uncertain about longterm health and being unable to commit.

People living with HIV expect less

The survey results show a clear perceived stigma against people with HIV, despite advancements in treatment.

Chris Woolls, Director of Cara Trust said: ‘With advances in treatment, the possibility to lead a long and healthy life with HIV is more real than ever before, yet the expectations don’t always meet this reality.

‘Each and every person living with HIV should be receiving the best care available to them, based on their needs and preferences, and not let misconceptions about HIV stop them from leading the life they want,’ he said.

Stigma still exists around HIV
Stigma still exists around HIV Image courtesy of Dragonfly Theatre

The survey interviewed 3,245 adults with and without HIV.

It also found people living with HIV expect to live shorter than people without.

General life is also impacted. 28% of men who have sex with men worried about their HIV status impacting starting a family naturally.

Matthew Hodson, Executive Director NAM aidsmap told Gay Star News: ‘Most people I know living with HIV have some experience of being rejected when they disclose their status.

‘Dating apps in particular can embolden people to express levels of prejudice that they would usually avoid in face to face settings, including language that is often cruel and hurtful.

‘A blanket rejection of anyone with HIV means that fewer men feel able to be open and honest.

‘This silence around HIV status contributes to ongoing ignorance and fear,’ he said.