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HIV Prevention
Jan 19, 2009

Dr. Bob,

Do we really still need to tell people to use condoms or that HIV is not spread casual contact or mosquito bites? I assume everyone knows that by now....

Rocket Scientist

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Rocket Scientist,

While I agree HIV prevention is not exactly rocket science, unfortunately your assumption is not true. For example, a recent survey of more than 6,000 Chinese was conducted by the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria, the China HIV/AIDS Media Partnership, Renmin University and UNAIDS. The results were shocking:

1. 30% did not know how to use a condom properly, including 57.2% of participants aged 15 to 24.

2. 88% rated their personal risk of HIV at zero.

3. 48% believed HIV could be transmitted by a mosquito bite and 18% thought it could be spread through a sneeze or cough.

4. 16% thought HIV could be spread by sharing a cup or eating with someone who is infected.

Obviously believing myths like these undermines efforts to work against HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination. In fact in the survey, 65% of respondents said they would not want to live with someone who has HIV/AIDS and 47.8% would not want to eat with them; 41.3% said they would be unwilling to work with someone who was HIV positive; and 16% said they would break off contact with an infected relative!

Obviously I (we?) have much more work to do.

Dr. Bob



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