Perceptions of general practice among homosexual men.
Fitzpatrick R., Dawson J., Boulton M., McLean J., Hart G., Brookes M.
BACKGROUND: Primary care has an important role to play in the prevention and management of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It has been suggested that homosexual men experience a variety of problems in relation to primary care. AIM: As part of a larger study, it was decided to examine the extent to which a sample of homosexually active men experienced difficulties in general practice and whether they consulted their general practitioner for problems related to HIV or the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). METHOD: Homosexual men were recruited for interview in 1991-92 from a variety of sources including genitourinary clinics and homosexual organizations. RESULTS: Of 623 men registered with a general practitioner 44% had not informed their general practitioner of their sexual orientation and 44% of the 77 men who were HIV antibody positive, as confirmed by the study, had not informed their general practitioner of this fact. Men who viewed their practice as unsympathetic towards homosexual men were less likely to have informed their general practitioner of their sexual orientation or HIV status. The majority of men (87%) nevertheless viewed primary care as an appropriate source of HIV/AIDS advice. CONCLUSION: There is considerable scope for improvement in the acceptability of general practice to homosexual men.