Fear of HIV testing leaves millions unaware of condition

Researchers from Royal Holloway at the University of London have conducted the biggest worldwide review of the psychological barriers that stop people from receiving HIV testing.

As published in the AIDS and Behavior journal, the study results showed significant levels of fear about testing and diagnosis for HIV. This fear is one of the largest barriers that prevent people from accepting testing. Over half of the 35 million people who have HIV infections have not received an official diagnosis due to fear of testing.

Approximately one-quarter of more than 100,000 people who have HIV infections within the U.K. don’t know that they have infections. Therefore, they do not have access to proper care or treatment, which places them at risk for spreading the disease further.

"Our research shows it is imperative that more is done to reduce the fear of HIV and HIV testing to increase the amount of people being tested,” study leader Michael Evangeli said. “A test for HIV, which can now be done in private at home, is necessary to receive HIV treatment and care. The earlier this can be done helps to reduce the onward transmission of HIV. The fact that HIV is treatable needs to be stressed."

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Royal Holloway University of London

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