From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

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A new survey by MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, found that 1 in 25 gay men surveyed in Edinburgh and Glasgow were HIV positive, yet 42% infected with HIV were unaware of their HIV positive status.

Just under half of gay men in Edinburgh and Glasgow infected with HIV are unaware of their HIV positive status

posted on: Jul 20, 2007

In the first study of its kind in Scotland, researchers carried out surveys in gay venues in Edinburgh and Glasgow. 1,350 men completed detailed questionnaires about their sexual behaviour and provided saliva samples for anonymous HIV testing. 

Most at risk were men who have anal sex with high numbers of partners: for men who had had more than 10 partners in the previous year, the infection rate rose to 1 in 7.  Most men with undiagnosed infection thought that they were HIV negative. This is not because they have never had an HIV test, but because they have had a negative HIV test in the past and are making incorrect assumptions about their current HIV status.  18 of the 25 men with undiagnosed HIV had previously tested HIV negative, and over half reported their most recent test was in 2004 or 2005.  Men who had not used a sexual health service in the past year were also less likely to be aware of their status: in the survey, only one third knew they were HIV positive compared with three quarters of men who had used sexual health services.

Gay men in Scotland are at risk of HIV and these findings demonstrate there is a need to reinforce safer sex messages through national, targeted HIV prevention campaigns. 


Authors: Lisa Williamson, Graham Hart


Williamson LM, Hart GJ. HIV prevalence and undiagnosed infection among a community sample of gay men in Scotland. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 2007:45:224-230


MRC Gay Men’s Sexual Health Survey