This World AIDS Day, Terrence Higgins Trust worked with YouGov to survey over 2,000 adults to reveal the extent to which myths and inaccuracies about HIV are still prevalent in Great Britain:
- One in five thinks that HIV can be transmitted through kissing.
- One in three believe that sharing a toothbrush with someone who is HIV positive can pass on the virus.
- One in ten thinks that HIV can be transmitted by sharing scissors or clippers at the hairdressers with someone who has HIV.
The survey also revealed that public perceptions do not reflect how far HIV treatment has come in the past 30 years:
- Just three out of 10 were aware that people on effective HIV treatment can have children without their partner or child acquiring the virus.
- Just six out of 10 believe that people with HIV can live into old age.
- Just four out of 10 were aware that people with HIV can have sex without transmitting the virus, if they are on effective treatment.
This lack of awareness and education was something echoed during THT’s House of Lords World AIDS Day reception. HIV advocate Lizzie Jordan was invited to talk about her personal journey. Lizzie explained:
‘You see, many people think HIV happened in the past, that it is “sorted”, dealt with. Over. Well it’s not. And people living with HIV are feeling the impact and the reality of the truth. It’s not over. I hear the stories daily of stigma, sometimes blatant, sometimes covert, sometimes discrete, sometimes subtle.’