UK health group begins campaign to educate gay male youth on dangerous HIV misconceptions

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GMFA, a UK health charity for gay men, has started a new campaign aimed at educating gay male youth about HIV.

One-third of men in the UK who were newly diagnosed as HIV-positive in 2012 were in their teens or twenties, and a recent study by the National AIDS Trust showed that youth between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four knew considerably less about HIV/AIDS than those aged twenty-five to sixty-four.

The misconceptions they held also tended towards the very dangerous, such as thinking that there is already a proven cure in use.

GMFA, which originally stood for “Gay Men Fighting AIDS,” said in a press release for the campaign, “In 2012 there were more gay men diagnosed with HIV than in any previous year, and a third of these men were in their teens or twenties. GMFA conducted a number of focus groups with young gay men to see why infection rates were so high in this group and found that many young gay men thought that HIV was something that was unlikely to affect them, with some thinking that there was already a cure for HIV.”

The chief executive of GMFA, Matthew Hodson, was quoted as saying, “If we are going to avoid a generation of gay men getting infected it’s important that we persuade young gay men to think again about HIV, to reconsider some of the things that they think they know, to arm themselves with the information and the skills they need to prevent transmission…

“What young gay men need from HIV prevention and information campaigns is different from what some other groups of gay men need. With HIV prevention, just as with condoms, it’s not the case that one size fits all.”

The “Think Again” campaign posters will be distributed to gay bars and clubs within London, as well as appearing on bus shelters near gay venues in the city.

429Magazine

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