Reported by The Scotsman – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.

Older gay men could be put off getting tested for HIV because they are still haunted by the “mass homophobia of the 1980s”, according to new findings by Scottish sexual health researchers.

Scientists from Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and the University of Glasgow also discovered that younger men were less likely to test for HIV if they did not have a university degree, and where they live influenced non-testing among both older and younger men – specifically in Wales and the Republic of Ireland.

The research, analysed data from 2436 men living in the Celtic nations of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland, who use online gay websites and apps to meet other men, to find out if age was a factor in the frequency of HIV testing in these nations.

Some three per cent of the UK population identify as gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, but they still bear the greatest burden of HIV, with 54 per cent of all new diagnosis being among this group. Evidence shows that 37 per cent of HIV positive men who have sex with men in Scotland are currently undiagnosed.

To better understand why certain age groups tested less for HIV, the researchers analysed pre-existing data collected in 2016 through the large-scale social media men who have sex with men sexual and holistic health study (SMMASH2), led by Dr Frankis.

Dr Frankis, reader in sexual health psychology at GCU, said yesterday that the mass homophobia from the ‘80s and the introduction of the controversial Section 28 clause, an amendment to the Local Government Act 1988 banning local authorities and schools from “promoting” homosexuality, could still be damaging the health of the older gay male population.





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