According to new research, three in ten LGBTQ+ people admit they would ‘swipe left’ to someone who has HIV and on effective treatment.
The statistics, revealed today by HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust and conducted by YouGov, show that not only is there is still a strong stigma towards those living with HIV but also a need for educating people about HIV.
The research also found that less than half (44 per cent) said they ‘wouldn’t’ swipe left on dating apps, implying that they’d give the person a chance, whilst one quarter (24 per cent) said they were ‘unsure’ on how they’d swipe.
When people were presented with the statement ‘I would feel comfortable kissing someone living with HIV on effective treatment’, one in five (20 per cent) disagreed despite the fact that HIV cannot be passed on through kissing, regardless of treatment.
One of the most alarming findings from the survey comes when presented with the statement ‘people living with HIV and on effective treatment cannot pass the virus on at all’. An alarming 51 per cent of respondents thought the statement was false. A recent PARTNER study found that, out of 58,000 instances, there were zero cases of HIV transmission from sex between an HIV positive person on effective treatment and a partner without HIV. 47 per cent of gay and bi men thought the statement was false, compared to 59 per cent of gay and bi women.
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To help educate people on the facts of HIV, Terrence Higgins Trust have launched a ‘Can’t Pass it On’ campaign which hopes to tackle the stigma.
Sadiq, a circus performer from London who is living with HIV and on effective treatment, said: “I find the information that I can’t pass HIV on is always met with surprise. Knowing I can’t pass it on opens up a world where I’m OK to be HIV positive and still have relationships, without the virus being a barrier.”
Ian Green, Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, said:
It’s so important to get this message out to as many people as possible. We hear on a near daily basis how out of date beliefs about how HIV is passed on are negatively affecting the lives and mental health of people HIV, and it urgently needs to change.
It’s truly devastating to hear that so many wouldn’t swipe right for or even kiss someone living with HIV who’s on effective treatment. We’ve known for three decades that HIV can’t be passed on through day-to-day contact and that includes kissing.