MAC AIDS Fund Survey of People in Nine Countries Finds Misconceptions, Stigma
November 15, 2007
A survey released on Tuesday by MAC AIDS Fund of people in Brazil, China, France, India, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the U.S. found misconceptions about the availability of a cure for HIV/AIDS and the consequences of the disease, as well as signs of stigma against HIV-positive people, Reuters Health reports. Nearly 50% of respondents in the nine countries said they would be uncomfortable walking next to an HIV-positive person, 52% do not want to live in the same house as an HIV-positive person and 79% do not want to date someone living with HIV/AIDS.
The survey found that 59% of people in India believed a cure for HIV is available. In addition, older adults in France and blacks in the U.S. were more likely than young people or whites to believe a cure is available (Reuters Health, 11/13). About 42% of people surveyed did not understand that AIDS is a fatal disease, according to the survey.
About 73% of respondents also said that the spread of HIV is fueled in part by women being uncomfortable discussing safer-sex practices with their partners. About 60% of respondents in all countries said "responsible" people could contract HIV, and 60% of respondents from Brazil, China and Mexico said acting "responsibly" will protect people from HIV infection. More than 25% of respondents said the virus could be contracted only through "sinful" behavior, the survey found.
Eighty-six percent of respondents said that stigma and shame associated with the virus are contributing to its spread. Respondents in China reported the most discomfort in working with people living with HIV/AIDS, followed by respondents from Mexico. More than 30% of respondents in the U.S. said they would be uncomfortable working with an HIV-positive person.
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.