Do gay men discuss HIV risk reduction with their GP?

AIDS Care. 2000 Jun;12(3):287-90. doi: 10.1080/09540120050042936.


In September/October 1997, 1,004 gay men using one of five gyms in central London completed a confidential anonymous questionnaire which included items on sexual as well as steroid-related injecting behaviour and whether they had ever discussed these behaviours with friends, sexual partners or a general practitioner (GP). Nearly all the men reported having had sex with another man in the previous six months, while a quarter had had unprotected anal intercourse in the previous three months. Less than one-third of the men (30%) had discussed safer sex with their GP, compared with 92% who had talked about it with friends and 87% with lovers (p < 0.001). Of those who had discussed safer sex with their GP, one in six (17%) had not found it easy--this was significantly higher than the proportion who had not found it easy to discuss safer sex with friends, lovers or casual partners (3-9%, p < 0.01). More than 10% of the men had ever injected anabolic steroids. Of those who had injected anabolic steroids, just over one-third (36%) had ever discussed this with their GP. It appears that the majority of gay men in this study had not discussed HIV risk reduction with their GP. Until obstacles to discussing risk reduction and HIV prevention are overcome, the routine consultation in general practice will not be able to fulfill its potential for health promotion.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Health Education
  • Health Promotion
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • London
  • Male
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Surveys and Questionnaires