A new study has made alarming discoveries in regards to the health of men in the LGBT community. According to Ireland’s Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN), the risk of contracting HIV amongst gay and bisexual men is high, and health education is critical for prevention.
“For a new generation of young gay and bisexual men, the risk of contracting HIV has grown significantly,” said GLEN’s HIV Strategies Director Tiernan Brady. “Between 2005 and 2012 there has been a four-fold increase in the number of new diagnoses among those aged between 25-34 years.”
The biggest prevention may be awareness and knowledge; GLEN aims to reach zero infections, as they believe HIV is a “preventable condition.”
“There is a critical need to educate young gay and bisexual men about good sexual health and about HIV and how they can protect themselves from contracting the condition,” Brady added.
The most affected demographic seems to be the younger set; in 2012 the average age of contracting HIV was 32.
“Implementation of sexual health education and HIV prevention strategies and campaigns targeting groups which are most at risk are critical in effectively responding to the ongoing high levels of HIV diagnosis amongst gay and bisexual men,” said Brady.
Last year, the Health Service Executive’s (HSE) Health Protection Surveillance Center discovered 166 new cases of men contracting HIV, with a 160% increase in diagnosis rates between the years 2005 to 2012.
Brady stated that, “Such campaigns, working in conjunction with wider strategies addressing the need for testing and tackling the discrimination and stigma which is experienced by people living with HIV would represent an effective focusing and marshalling of the available resources.”