sexual health in
The Desi POV
The Desi POV – What are we looking at?
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.
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.
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.
South Asian attitudes to Sexual Health
What is sexual health?
Sexual health and testing