WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – According to a new study, 15 percent of people say bisexuality is not a real sexual orientation.
Researchers surveyed adults and found that the perception towards bisexuality is a negative one.
“Bisexual men and women face prejudice, stigma, and discrimination from both heterosexual and homosexual people,” Mackey Friedman, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and director of HIV prevention initiative Project Silk, said in a press release. “It also can result in lower rates of HIV testing and treatment,” Friedman added in the press release.
The U.S. government estimates that over one million people living in this country currently have HIV. Researchers estimated that 1.2 million men in the U.S. are bisexual and approximately 121,800 of them are HIV positive.
After analyzing the scientific reports, researchers found that bisexual men are only 40 percent as likely as homosexual men to have HIV.
“The HIV infection risk that bisexual men pose to their female partners has likely been overstated,” Friedman told HealthDay. “However, that doesn’t mean that HIV-prevention campaigns targeting bisexual men and their male and female partners aren’t needed. HIV does exist in the bisexual community, and national, bisexual-specific data collection, research, and HIV prevention and care delivery are necessary to ameliorate this population’s HIV burden.”
Researchers asked 1,500 participants to answer a 33-questionnaire online.
“Having hard data to back up why a bisexual person might feel the need to be secretive about sexual orientation, something that can lead to higher depression and many other negative health outcomes, is very useful to people trying to fight stigma and marginalization,” Friedman added.
The research was presented earlier this week at the American Public Health Association’s 141st Annual Meeting & Exposition in Boston.