A worrying number of LGBT people would ‘swipe left’ on a dating app for someone living with HIV and on effective treatment.
According to HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust, the study by YouGov found three in 10 LGBT+ people would avoid matching with someone living with HIV on a dating app.
The study also found around 24 per cent said they ‘don’t know’ which way they would swipe, while less then half (44 per cent) said they would ‘swipe right’ hoping to match.
When the participants were asked, ‘I would feel comfortable kissing someone living with HIV on effective treatment’, one in five (20 per cent) disagreed.
The same amount agreed they would feel comfortable having ‘unprotected’ sex with someone living with HIV on effective treatment as it has been proven that people living with HIV cannot pass on the virus if on effective treatment.
More than half (51 per cent) of LGBT+ respondents said the statement, ‘People living with HIV and on effective treatment cannot pass the virus on at all’ was false.
Only a quarter (26 per cent) thought the statement was true, while 22 per cent admitted they didn’t know.
Around 47 per cent of gay and bi men believed the statement was false compared to 59 per cent of gay and bi women.
Sadiq, a circus performer from London who is living with HIV and on effective treatment, said: “I find the information that I can’t pass HIV on is always met with surprise.
“Knowing I can’t pass it on opens up a world where I’m OK to be HIV positive and still have relationships, without the virus being a barrier.
“The Can’t Pass It On campaign gives people living with HIV a very easy way to inform and educate without having to get into specifics.”
Ian Green, Chief Executive at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “It’s so important to get this message out to as many people as possible.
“We hear on a near daily basis how out of date beliefs about how HIV is passed on are negatively affecting the lives and mental health of people HIV, and it urgently needs to change.
“Amazing medical progress has been made, but knowledge of HIV quite clearly hasn’t kept up with that progress.
“Effective treatment means HIV shouldn’t be a barrier to anyone doing anything they want to and that includes having a fulfilling relationship and sex life.
“We all have a role to play in this and it’s high time for everyone to stop doubting the science and accept the realities of HIV as that’s the best way to tackle the abhorrent stigma that still surrounds the virus.
“It’s truly devastating to hear that so many wouldn’t swipe right for or even kiss someone living with HIV who’s on effective treatment.
“We’ve known for three decades that HIV can’t be passed on through day-to-day contact and that includes kissing.”