Survey data suggest that the discriminatory attitudes and practices that men who have sex with men (MSM) in San Francisco harbor toward people with HIV have remained steady throughout the decade, aidsmap reports. This is a disappointing finding given the fact that one of the pillars of the city’s “Getting to Zero” strategy for fighting the epidemic, launched in 2013, is achieving “zero HIV stigma” by 2030.
The city has led the nation in making considerable progress regarding the other two pillars of the plan: achieving zero new HIV transmissions and getting to zero HIV deaths by the end of the next decade. The city’s diagnosis rate had plunged in recent years and hit a record low of 221 new cases in 2017.
Publishing their findings in AIDS and Behavior, researchers analyzed data from surveys conducted in gay venues in 2011, 2014 and 2017 for the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance study. Each round of the survey included more than 400 MSM respondents.
The proportion of each year’s participants who responded “yes” to a question as to whether individuals agreed with the statement “Most people in the San Francisco Bay Area would discriminate against someone with HIV” held steady over time, at 22%, 23% and 21%, respectively. The proportion responding “yes” did not differ based on the men’s HIV status. However, nonwhite men and those younger than 30 were more likely to respond “yes” than their counterparts.
The study authors noted that research has tied stigma related to the virus—the experience or anticipation of it—to reduced engagement with HIV treatment and prevention.
To read the aidsmap article, click here.
To read the study abstract, click here.