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January 27, 2009

Many Gay Brits Support HIV Criminalization

Fifty-seven percent of gay men in the United Kingdom support imprisoning HIV-positive people who recklessly infect others, according to a recent study published by Sigma Research—a social research group that specializes in human behavior, HIV and sexual health—and reported on by

Researchers also found that men more likely to support criminalization laws are those who have never been tested; believed that the responsibility for safer sex was solely on the HIV-positive partner, not the HIV-negative one; and linked HIV to murder. However, few gay men believed that these laws would actually deter HIV transmissions.

According to the article, about 26 percent of those surveyed said they opposed these laws while 18 percent were unsure.

The report also highlighted the growing need to address stigma around the disease. The authors wrote: “The degree to which the reality of living with HIV is misunderstood, and the fear and loathing with which men characterize those ‘other’ gay men and bisexual men with HIV is clearly evident…. The othering of HIV continues to be the largest underlying challenge to our HIV response.”

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