A study posted by LQTBQ Nation that was conducted by the Kirby Institute stated that although the rate of HIV has slowed among gay and bisexual men, the same is not true for straight men; and it’s not because straight men are getting laid more often.
Preventative measures as well as testing is the reason that HIV rates continue to drop among gay and bisexual men but rates among heterosexual men have stayed the same. The numbers are not dropping among straight men because they are much less likely to get tested for HIV, and therefore are unaware that they have the disease and can spread it to others. it was also stated that only one in three straight people have ever been tested for the virus.
According to HIV.gov, people should get tested at least once in their lifetime unless they are at high risk of getting the virus. These risks include having sex with more than one partner, not knowing partners’ sexual history or status, and being treated for another STD. In a world where people often have more than one partner who they might not know the history of, and where there are 376 million cases of STDs every year, many of these risks apply to everyday people. In reality, if someone is having sex, regardless of who it may be with, they should be getting tested.
Another study that was posted by KHN conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that, “young people between 15 and 25 make up a quarter of the population who are sexually experienced. But the survey found that nearly half — 42 percent — of those who had sex and had not been tested for disease thought they were not at risk.”
The stigma around HIV could be one reason for this low testing statistic. Even in 2019 many still act like their sexual health should not be talked about. Even the mere thought of making an appointment to get tested sends some people into a frenzy of self-justification of how they know they are STD free.
Consumer reports stated that, “The CDC estimates that about 1.1 million people live with HIV in the U.S. But about 1 in every 7 of them doesn’t know he or she is infected. “ These people don’t know that they are infected and are possibly infecting others simply because they decided not to get tested. Although the rate of the spread of HIV continues to decline it is not something that we can ignore.
Students have access to reduced cost testing, and many still decide not to go. Your health and the health of others should not be determined by you being too embarrassed to get tested or feeling like there is no way that you have an STD. If you aren’t mature enough to get tested, maybe you aren’t mature enough to be having sex. HIV doesn’t care who you sleep with, just get tested.