South Asian attitudes to Sexual Health

Indian lady thinking



sexual health in

south asian


The Desi POV

The Desi POV – What are we looking at?

Who are we?

Taslima Rashid (Homerton Healthcare NHS FOundation Trust)

Tal Mahmud (Hiyos)

Saira Juma (Hiyos)

Vinesh Dhir (Hiyos)

Muhammad Junejo (Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust)

Hasan Mohammed (Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust)

What is it about?

Attitudes around HIV and STI testing in a large, majority south Asian GP cohort in NW London

Poor uptake of screening = late diagnoses, poorer outcomes

Culture – plays a major part in reduced screening

Engagement – we need more engagement with older, South Asian, heterosexual communities


Uptake of sexual health services by South Asian (SA) populations in the UK have historically been poor, due to cultural barriers and stigma around sexual activity.

The borough of Hounslow has a SA proportion of 34%, yet only 24% of our clinic attendances (year 19/20) are South Asians.

HIV diagnoses are declining in all groups, but SAs have seen amongst the slowest rates to decline, in particular heterosexual men and women.

SAs are more likely to be referred in from different specialties, have an older age at diagnosis of HIV and present at a later stage (advanced HIV). This has significant health implications on patients, partners and healthcare services.


We aim to capture patient perspectives on STI and HIV testing from these often underserved groups: women, older patients, and heterosexual populations, to better understand barriers and facilitators of SAs attending sexual health services.


NHS GP Practice Hiyos, based in North West London, was able to capture and provide data from its patient pool, using a targeted online patient survey. The patient survey asked 10 questions on a range of subjects, including HIV testing, STI testing, reasons for opting out of testing, preferences of where to test, and demographic data including sexual orientation, gender, and ethnicity.


Of the 1,303 responses to the online survey, 68.5% of respondents were SAs compared to 31.5% white respondents.
The most common age group was 25-34 and 35-44 years, regardless of ethnicity. More South Asian participants were married (81.5%) compared to white counterparts (45.7%). There were low numbers of separation and divorce amongst SA.


Our results demonstrate low uptake of HIV/STI testing amongst SAs compared to their White counterparts.

SA participants felt they did not need HIV/STI testing as they had no symptoms and had only one partner. Culture/religion played a role in preventing SAs from accessing testing.

This data highlights the need for further education on HIV/STIs and culturally sensitive campaigns for SAs.

GPs and community providers are crucial in engaging older, heterosexual patients who may not routinely attend SHS and should be actively involved in order to help end HIV transmission by 2030.

Sexual health


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