The “HIV is:
Expectations from Life
” survey was conducted online between November and
December 2016 by the marketing research company Censuswide on behalf of Gilead,
using a methodology similar to market surveys. Firstly a target number of
HIV-positive people were recruited in the five European Countries, namely France,
Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Roughly 20 HIV-positive women
were recruited from each country, to a total of 102 women, and an average of 84
men each, to a total of 420.

Of these 522 people, 11% had never started ART, and a surprisingly high 11% had taken ART but currently said they were not taking it. Of the 338 people who were on ART (65%), 229 (67% or 44% of the whole group) said they had an undetectable viral load.

Respondents were recruited from a ‘consumer panel’ and went
through a stringent verifying process before taking part to guarantee they were
who they claimed to be.

The 522 people with HIV were then matched against 2723 HIV-negative
people in the general population, matched for age, gender and sexual orientation.

All respondents were asked: do you expect to live a longer of
shorter life than your friends, peers, older siblings and colleagues? People with
HIV were three times more likely to expect they would have shorter lives; 35% expected they would die
sooner than their friends, compared with 10% of the HIV-negative group.

Viral undetectability changed this little, with 31% of those on
fully-suppressive ART still considering they had a shorter life expectancy. 

Perhaps because they saw achieving it as more difficult, when
asked about priorities in life such as love, financial stability and career,
HIV-positive people were more likely to prioritise love (37% versus 27%) and a heathy sex life (28% versus 17%) than HIV-negative

While over half considered HIV to be a barrier to sex with
others, fewer (38%) considered HIV to be a barrier to dating and meeting potential sexual partners. By far the most
commonly-cited barrier to dating was the fear of having to disclose their HIV
status, with 59% of those saying HIV was a barrier to dating saying this was a
major problem (22% of the whole group).

As well as having a lower estimate of life expectancy, people
with HIV were less likely to rate their current health as excellent, with 44%
rating their health as good or excellent, compared with 69% of the matched
HIV-negative respondents.