The association of homosexuality with HIV might create uneasiness around discussing symptoms of HIV in men. Between our society’s struggle to accept different sexual orientations and the perceived severity of an HIV infection, bringing this topic up is tough.
Here’s what you should know, and what you should do about it:
Gay men are at higher risk of getting HIV
Statistics show that men who have sex with other men (MSM) are at a significantly higher risk of getting HIV than any other group in the US. Compared to the general population (with a 1 in 99 chance of getting HIV), one in six MSM will be diagnosed with HIV.* Furthermore, there’s a remarkable disparity between different ethnic groups among MSM: 1 in 2 black MSM, 1 in 4 Latino MSM, and 1 in 11 white MSM will receive an HIV diagnosis.*
But you don’t have to be gay to get HIV
It’s important to be aware of risk factors for HIV and take extra measures for safety if you are part of high-risk groups. However, anyone can get HIV, even those who aren’t ‘high risk’. Over 1.2 million people in the US have HIV; the CDC estimates that 51% of Americans aged 13-24 who have HIV don’t know they have it.**
Check out our STD symptoms guide to familiarize yourself with the signs of an HIV infection, and remember: The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested.
Why you should talk about it
HIV has long been a stigmatized illness–something believed to be reserved for gay men, drug addicts, and socially marginalized groups. HIV is something that anyone of any race, sexual orientation, or class can get, and the only way to change the stigma is to talk about it.
How to talk about it
Hard conversations are always easier with more information. If you’re looking to bring up the topic of HIV with a partner, start by getting tested. Knowing your status is empowering and will set a solid foundation for where the conversation will lead.
Order a home HIV test from myLAB Box and get a free expert consultation.
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