Black, Hispanic and Asian men are far less likely to tell their doc that they're gay than white men, a Health Department survey of 452 gay men shows.
Thirty-nine percent of all gay men weren't out to their doctor. Some 60% of black men said they didn't tell their doctor; 48% of Hispanic men; 47% of Asian men, and 19% of white men.
Just over half of men under 28 were open with their doctor, compared to 69% older. Some 63% who are out have got an HIV test, compared to 36% of those who aren't.
"It's a combination of people being less comfortable with the term gay or homosexual, and discrimination they perceive they will experience if they are open about their sexual experiences and attractions," said Dr. Elizabeth Begier, the city's director of HIV epidemiology.
Doctors are implicated in the don't-ask-don't-tell dynamic, too.
"As a group, doctors fail miserably at doing it," said Assistant Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Sweeney.
"People were not reluctant to talk once you brought it up," she said. "They're reluctant to initiate, but once you bring up highly emotional issues, patients will talk about it if you're not judgmental."
Partly because of the communication gap, the city is promoting routine HIV testing, starting in the Bronx. Federal health officials recommend medical providers offer the test to everyone between 13 and 64.
Just because you're gay, it doesn't mean you have HIV or AIDS for that matter. Remember, you can also get tested at a local Health Department, AVOL, AVOC, etc. HIV/AIDS in the Bluegrass Region of the Commonwealth continues to climb and we are doing a horrible job at educating teenagers and the general public about it.