One out of five gay men with HIV in Australia may not know they are living with it, according to a survey conducted in Melbourne in 2008.
Investigators in the ‘Suck-it-and-see’ study collected saliva samples from 745 men at a number of gay community venues throughout Melbourne only to discover that 20 out of the 100 men whose samples tested positive were unaware of the fact.
Six of these 20 said that they had never had an HIV test while another six reported their last test being less than six months ago. But probably most alarmingly, 13 of these men reported being ‘confident’ in knowing their HIV status. Unfortunately, investigators were unable to contact the men to tell them they were positive.
‘Because men participated in this study anonymously we cannot personally identify those with unrecognised infections,’ said Dr Mark Stoovè from the Centre for Population Health at the Burnet Institute.
‘So we strongly urge sexually active gay men in Melbourne (and everywhere else – Ed) to seek testing now if they have had unprotected anal sex since their last HIV test or have not been tested in the past six months.’