- test question asked which virus they are most likely to catch from a gay man
- Doctors, sexual health experts and charities call it ‘homophonic’
- Royal College of Surgeons apologises, says it remains committed to ‘inclusivity’
The Royal College of Surgeons was accused of homophobia when they asked trainees a question that critics would say HIV was a ‘gay disease’.
Medics and sexual health charities have decimated college for ‘Stone Age’ thinking.
The HIV charity, The Terrence Higgins Trust, argued that it perpetuates harmful, decades-old stereotypes toward men who have sex with men.
But some doctors defended the question, with one medic saying it was meant to test the ‘knowledge no opinion’ of medical professionals.
A question on the Royal College of Surgeons (pictured) examination as to what type of virus surgeons were most likely to catch if they were accidentally injured while treating a homosexual man, prompted outrage as being ‘homophobic’.
What was the homophobic question?
Multiple choice questions were shown in the Royal College of Surgeons exam held on Tuesday.
Question: You get a needle injury while drawing blood from a 27-year-old gay man, which of these viruses are you most likely to contract?
answer: hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, HPV or malaria
An examination held on Tuesday showed a multiple choice question.
Candidates made up of doctors wishing to become a specialist will have to pay £578 to appear for an exam to become a member of the Royal College of Surgeons.
It reportedly read: ‘You have a needle injury while drawing blood from a 27-year-old gay man, which of these viruses are you most likely to contract?’.
The five possible answers listed were: ‘hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, HPV or malaria’.
Needlestick injury occurs when a surgeon accidentally stabs himself with a needle that has been used on the patient.
This potentially puts them at risk of bloodborne viruses such as HIV.
Prospective surgeons and other doctors immediately took to social media to express their outrage over the question of the exam.
Gemma, a doctor based in Edinburgh, tweeted that she was “concerned” by the question, calling it “rooted in homosexual bias”.
Dr Riya Chauhan, who claimed to have appeared for the exam, said she was “shocked” by the question.
“It distracted me during the exam, it was very unnecessary and hurtful in words,” she said.
Dr Yasmin Walters, an expert in HIV and sexual health, took to social media to accuse the college of “Stone Age thinking”.
‘My friend just sat down at the MRCS (Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons) and tells me that you are still writing questions that should be left to the Stone Age,’ she said.
The question about getting a needlestick from ‘a homosexual’ and the BBV you are “most likely to catch” is not fair.’
The Association of LGBTQ+ Doctors and Dentists also expressed their displeasure over the wording of the question. It said the question was ‘built around harmful stereotypes and prejudice towards members of the LGBTQ+ community’.
However, some doctors questioned the level of vitriol from their colleagues.
Dr Joel Pittaway from Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, said: ‘I’m sure I’ll be piled on, but I’ll happily answer this question without worrying about its meaning because it’s a question and it’s not real.
‘Why is this a problem and why does it constitute a crime? It is to test knowledge, certainly not opinion?’
RCS has now apologized for the question, it will conduct a review and ensure that the questions are more ‘inclusive’ in future.
A spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘This has caused outrage and uneasiness among exam candidates, members and peers of surgical colleges.
Gemma, an Edinburgh doctor who recently took the exam, was ‘shocked and concerned’ at a question she described as ‘rooted in homosexual bias’.
Another doctor who appeared for the exam, Riya Chauhan, said the tone of the question distracted her from the exam and urged the Royal College of Surgeons to remove it from future tests.
However, some doctors such as Joel Pittaway of Bromsgrove in Worcestershire defended the tone of the question, saying it was meant to test people’s ‘knowledge’.
Why don’t modern meds mean HIV is a death sentence?
Before 1996, HIV was a death sentence. Then, anti-retroviral therapy (ART) was created to suppress the virus. Now, a person can live as long as anyone else despite having HIV.
Medicines were also invented to reduce an HIV-negative person’s risk of contracting the virus by 99%.
In recent years, research has shown that ART can suppress HIV to such an extent that it renders the virus non-infectious to sexual partners.
It has sparked a movement to reduce the crime of contracting a person with HIV: it leaves the victim on lifelong, expensive medication, but it doesn’t mean certain death.
Here’s more about the new life-saving and preventative drugs:
1. Medicines for HIV Positive People
It suppresses their viral load so the virus is non-communicable.
In 1996, anti-retroviral therapy (ART) was discovered.
The drug, a triple combination, turns HIV from a fatal diagnosis into a manageable chronic condition.
It suppresses the virus, preventing it from developing into AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), which makes the body unable to cope with infections.
After six months of taking the daily pill religiously, it suppresses the virus to such an extent that it is undetectable.
And once a person’s viral load is undetectable, they cannot transmit HIV to anyone else, according to several studies, including a decade-long study. National Institutes of Health,
Public health bodies around the world now accept that U = U (unknown equals noncommunicable).
2. Medicines for HIV-Negative People
It is 99% effective in preventing HIV
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) became available in 2012.
This pill works’ pill’ – it is taken …
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