Discrimination between HIV negative and positive MSM: results from the « AIDES & Toi » survey
Background: Stigma and discrimination have been identified as major obstacles to effective responses to the AIDS epidemic. In France, in response to AIDS and homophobia, gay men first provided solidarity and support to their peers. But more than 20 years after the beginning of the epidemic, when many MSM are used to serosorting, is there a gap between gay/bisexual men according to their HIV status?
The aim of this study was to analyse discrimination between MSM in relation to their HIV serostatus.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was carried out in May 2005 for one week. A self-administered questionnaire was systematically offered to everyone in contact with AIDES – the largest French NGO – throughout France including gay venues such as saunas or sex clubs. It included items addressing standardized questions used in previous cross sectional studies about discrimination, the circumstances of this discrimination, social and sexual life. Among gay men, reports of discrimination were compared according to their HIV serostatus.
Results: Among the 660 gay men, 50,3% were HIV positive. Average age was 40. 54% had no regular partner. Overall HIV-positive gay men were more likely to report having been discriminated against during their lifetime (51.2% versus 35.7%, p<.001). Among those reported discrimination, while HIV-positive gay men were less likely to report discrimination in daily life than HIV-negative gay men (OR=0.3 CI(95%)=[0.2-0.6], p<.001), they were more likely to report discrimination in their social network, in sexual intercourse and in their community (OR=1.6 CI(95%)=[1.0-2.6], p=0.05).
Conclusions: HIV negative MSM reported more discrimination in their daily life.
HIV positive MSM are more likely to be discriminated against by their own peers in relationships or sexual intercourse. Furthermore, perhaps it is time to question the gay community to see whether solidarity is still on its agenda.
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