A new study of 2,000 adults in the United Kingdom shows very little sympathy for those who are infected with HIV, and some frightening misperceptions about how HIV is transmitted, The Guardian reports. The survey, conducted by Interact Worldwide, showed:
- Nearly one quarter of the people polled said injection drug users who became infected with HIV through needle sharing should not receive treatment through public health programs.
- Sixty percent said they would have more sympathy for someone infected with HIV through a blood transfusion than through sexual contact.
- One fifth said it is people's own fault if they contract HIV.
- Forty-one percent said immigrants shouldn't be allowed into the country if they are HIV-positive.
Regarding knowledge about how HIV can be transmitted, 11% said HIV could be transmitted by kissing, 5% said it could be transmitted by using silverware that has been used by an HIV-positive person, and only 26% thought heterosexuals were at high risk of becoming infected through unprotected sex.
"The results show that many respondents are not aware that this is an issue for everyone," Ros Davies,
Interact Worldwide's CEO, told The Guardian. "They still perceive HIV/AIDS as a disease affecting only minority groups--gay men, drug users, and prostitutes. The reality is that HIV/AIDS should be an issue of concern to us all, especially young people."