October 5, 2022

The Royal School of Surgeons was accused of homophobia after asking trainees a query that critics say recommended HIV was a ‘homosexual illness’. 

Medics and sexual well being charities have blasted the school for ‘stone age’ pondering. 

HIV charity, The Terrence Higgins Belief, argued it perpetuated dangerous, decades-old stereotypes in the direction of males who’ve intercourse with males. 

However some medical doctors defended the query, with one medic stating it was there to check medical professionals ‘information not opinions’. 

A query on a Royal School of Surgeons (pictured) examination on what sort of virus surgeons have been more than likely to catch if accidently injured whereas treating a homosexual man has prompted outrage as being ‘homophobic’

What WAS the homophobic query?

The multiple-choice query featured in a Royal School of Surgeons examination, held on Tuesday.

QUESTION: You will have a needlestick harm when drawing blood from a 27-year-old gay man, which of those viruses are you probably to contract?

ANSWERS: Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, HPV or Malaria

The multiple-choice query featured in an examination, held on Tuesday.

Examination-goers, made up of medical doctors desirous to turn into specialists, should pay £578 to sit down the take a look at to turn into members of the Royal School of Surgeons.

It reportedly learn: ‘You will have a needlestick harm when drawing blood from a 27-year-old gay man, which of those viruses are you probably to contract?’.

5 potential solutions listed have been: ‘Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, HPV or Malaria’. 

Needlestick accidents are when a surgeon accidently stabs themselves with a needle which has been used on a affected person.

It probably places them prone to a bloodborne viruses, reminiscent of HIV. 

Potential surgeons and different medical doctors instantly took to social media to precise their outrage over the examination query. 

Gemma, a health care provider based mostly in Edinburgh, tweeted she was ‘involved’ by the query, describing it as ‘rooted in homophobic prejudice’. 

Dr Rhea Chouhan, who additionally claims to have sat the examination, stated she was ‘shocked’ by the query.

‘It distracted me through the examination, it was very unnecessarily and harmfully worded,’ she stated.  

Dr Yasmin Walters, a specialist in HIV and sexual well being, accused the School of ‘stone age pondering’ on social media.

‘My good friend simply sat MRCS (Membership of the Royal School of Surgeons) and tells me you’re nonetheless writing questions that must be left within the Stone Age,’ she stated. 

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‘Questions on getting a needle stick from “a gay” and what BBV you’re “more than likely to catch” is simply not acceptable.’

The Affiliation of LGBTQ+ Docs & Dentists additionally voiced their displeasure over the query’s wording. It said the query was ‘constructed round dangerous stereotypes and prejudice in the direction of members of the LGBTQ+ neighborhood’.

Nevertheless, some medical doctors questioned the extent of vitriol from their colleagues.

Dr Joel Pittaway, from Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, stated: ‘I’m positive I’ll be piled on however I might fortunately reply this query with out worrying about its connotations because it’s a query and ergo not actual.

‘Why is it an issue and why does it trigger offence? It’s there to check information not opinions absolutely?’ 

The RCS has now apologised for the query, including it should undertake a assessment and guarantee questions are extra ‘inclusive’ sooner or later. 

A spokesperson instructed MailOnline: ‘It has understandably brought about offence and disquiet amongst examination candidates, members and fellows of the surgical schools. 

Gemma, a doctor from Edinburgh, who sat the most recent exam was 'shocked and concerned' over the question she described as being 'rooted in homophobic prejudice'

Gemma, a health care provider from Edinburgh, who sat the newest examination was ‘shocked and anxious’ over the query she described as being ‘rooted in homophobic prejudice’

Another doctor sitting the exam, Rhea Chouhan, said the tone of the question distracted her from the exam and urged the Royal College of Surgeons to remove it from future tests

One other physician sitting the examination, Rhea Chouhan, stated the tone of the query distracted her from the examination and urged the Royal School of Surgeons to take away it from future checks

However, some doctors, like Joel Pittaway from  Bromsgrove in Worcestershire in defended the tone of the question, stating it was there to test people's 'knowledge'

Nevertheless, some medical doctors, like Joel Pittaway from  Bromsgrove in Worcestershire in defended the tone of the query, stating it was there to check folks’s ‘information’ 


Previous to 1996, HIV was a demise sentence. Then, anti-retroviral remedy (ART) was made to suppress the virus. Now, an individual can dwell as lengthy a life as anybody else, regardless of having HIV.

Medicine have been additionally invented to decrease an HIV-negative individual’s threat of contracting the virus by 99%. 

In recent times, analysis has proven that ART can suppress HIV to such an extent that it makes the virus untransmittable to sexual companions.

That has spurred a motion to downgrade the crime of infecting an individual with HIV: it leaves the sufferer on life-long, pricey medicine, but it surely doesn’t imply sure demise.  

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Right here is extra concerning the new life-saving and preventative medicine: 

1. Medicine for HIV-positive folks 

It suppresses their viral load so the virus is untransmittable

In 1996, anti-retroviral remedy (ART) was found. 

The drug, a triple mixture, turned HIV from a deadly analysis to a manageable power situation.  

It suppresses the virus, stopping it from growing into AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome), which makes the physique unable to resist infections.

After six months of religiously taking the day by day capsule, it suppresses the virus to such an extent that it’s undetectable. 

And as soon as an individual’s viral load is undetectable, they can not transmit HIV to anybody else, in accordance with scores of research together with a decade-long examine by the Nationwide Institutes of Well being. 

Public well being our bodies all over the world now acknowledge that U=U (undetectable equals untransmittable).

2. Medicine for HIV-negative folks 

It’s 99% efficient at stopping HIV

PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) grew to become obtainable in 2012. 

This capsule works like ‘the capsule’ – it’s taken day by day and is 99 p.c efficient at stopping HIV an infection (more practical than the contraceptive capsule is at stopping being pregnant). 

It consists of two medicines (tenofovir dosproxil fumarate and emtricitabine). These medicines can mount a right away assault on any hint of HIV that enters the individual’s bloodstream, earlier than it is ready to unfold all through the physique.

‘We might be urgently reviewing how this query was included and we will verify that it’ll not be used once more.’

The RCS, a 220-year-old establishment which goals to advertise good surgical care, additionally declined to disclose what it thought of the proper reply to the query to be.  

Charities and well being authorities have lengthy warned towards framing HIV as a ‘homosexual’ or ‘gay’ illness.

It masks the truth that anybody can catch the virus, sexual well being specialists say. 

Michael Brady, medical director of the Terrence Higgins Belief, instructed MailOnline the examination query was ‘distressing’ and ‘homophobic’.

‘Individuals residing with HIV report that they’re more than likely to expertise stigma from healthcare professionals,’ he stated.

‘Ailing-informed, inaccurate and, frankly, homophobic questions like it will solely perpetuate this and can do nothing to deal with the stigma, discrimination and poor expertise that’s nonetheless all too frequent an expertise for folks residing with HIV.’

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He added it was important to keep in mind that HIV has modified significantly for the reason that early days of the epidemic.

Throughout the AIDS disaster of the 80s and 90s, HIV was labelled a ‘homosexual illness’ as a result of it primarily affecting homosexuals males. It led to discrimination and misinformation about how folks may catch the virus.  

‘It isn’t a “homosexual illness” and something that means in any other case ought to have been left again at the hours of darkness days of the ’80s and ’90s,’ Dr Brady stated. 

‘Immediately, efficient therapy means folks residing with HIV can count on and luxuriate in an extended and wholesome life and have the arrogance they’ve a zero threat of passing the virus on to their companions.’

HIV is a virus that damages cells within the immune system, weakening the physique’s potential to combat off on a regular basis infections and ailments. 

If left untreated, it may result in AIDS, which is the time period for plethora of doubtless life-threatening infections and diseases that may happen after the immune system has been severely broken by the virus itself.

HIV is generally unfold by way of unprotected intercourse. However it may also be caught by way of sharing needles when doing medicine or from unintentional accidents with needles or different sharp objects in a well being setting.

The NHS advises, nevertheless, that the chances of a healthcare employee contracting HIV by accidently pricking themselves with an contaminated needle is extraordinarily low.

There an estimated 105,200 folks residing with HIV within the UK, 95 per cent of which recognized.

Within the US the quantity is way greater with an estimated 1.2million folks having HIV, with one in eight unaware they’ve it.  

Many years in the past, catching HIV was once successfully be a deaths sentence as folks’s immune system grew weaker and the succumbed to AIDS. 

Whereas there’s nonetheless no treatment fashionable antiviral medicine imply the virus might be suppressed to such an extent that HIV constructive folks they can not cross it on to others. 

Different medicine have been developed which, if taken day by day, are 99 per cent efficient at stopping HIV an infection.