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There are a wide range of resources that are available to HIV-positive men who have sex with men, such as anonymous STD testing. However, heterosexual male patients may find it more difficult obtaining the services that they need, according to a new study conducted by St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.
While new HIV infections are more common among men who have sex with men, the number of cases affecting heterosexual males is on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heterosexual men and women accounted for 27 percent of new infections as recently as 2009.
"Heterosexual men living with AIDS are navigating a healthcare and service field that has not kept pace with their increased representation among the population of people living with the virus," said study author Tony Antoniou.
In order to gauge how well heterosexual male patients are coping with HIV, Antoniou and his colleagues conducted several focus groups.
Research participants reported perceptions that most resources were geared toward gay men and straight women; feelings that gay men had more social capital in obtaining services; and hesitation to seek appropriate care because of the stigma attached to HIV.
This study suggests that policymakers need greater consideration for heterosexual men when approaching HIV.
In the meantime, straight men who appreciate discretion may want to consider anonymous STD testing.
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