Britons still ignorant about HIV
17th February 2011
One in five adults are unaware that HIV can be passed between a man and a woman not using a condom, research suggests.
The same number do not know HIV can be spread between gay men having unprotected sex, and more than half (55%) are unaware that sharing needles and syringes can transmit the disease.
An increasing proportion of adults incorrectly believe HIV can be transmitted by kissing and spitting - around one in 10 adults surveyed now believe this, compared to around 5% in 2007.
The most recent poll, of almost 2,000 people for the National AIDS Trust (NAT), is included in a report on public attitudes and knowledge about HIV.
People were given a list of 11 possible routes of HIV transmission and asked to select those which apply to the disease.
Only 30% of people could correctly identify all HIV transmission routes, while one in 12 adults (8%) could not identify sex without a condom - whether heterosexual or homosexual - as a route.
When it came to knowledge and attitudes, 67% of people said they have sympathy for those with HIV and 74% believe they should have the same level of support and respect as people with cancer.
More than one in 10 (11%) has no sympathy, rising to 30% towards those infected with HIV through unprotected sex.
Despite 67% of people saying they would be comfortable working with somebody who has HIV, 13% said they would not - little change on the 11% from five years ago.
Some 38% said their employer should tell them if one of their colleagues is HIV positive, the survey found. According to the NAT, there is no risk of HIV transmission in everyday work situations.
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