British HIV Education Is Regressing Towards ’80s Fear Rhetoric

(RED) London EyeOne of the best tools to combat HIV/AIDS is proper education, and it appears the Brits have a large gap that needs closing.

Gay Star News reports that according to new research for National AIDS Trust by Ipsos MORI and published for World AIDS Day today, 28 percent of Brits think you can contract HIV from kissing, sharing a glass, spit, a public toilet seat, coughs and sneezes.

The truly odd part is that this number is on the rise, up from 18 percent in 2010.

Demographics of respondents weren’t provided, though it would be helpful to know how the misunderstandings break down by age, gender, income level, etc.

It would be nice to know, for instance, who the 9 percent of British people are who think that if you’re diagnosed with HIV, you only have three years to live.

Or the 17 percent who don’t know that HIV is passed by sex without a condom between a man and a woman. And somehow the figure is even larger who don’t know it’s passed on through sex between two men — 19 percent.

Deborah Gold, chief executive of National AIDS Trust, called the results “alarming”:

“Lack of understanding leads to stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV. This is taking us straight back to the early 80s – and this time we don’t have the excuse of not knowing better.”

While 79 percent of people said people with HIV deserve the same support as those with cancer, a surprising 23 percent said they don’t have sympathy for people who contract the disease through unprotected sex.

We’re guessing some of those people also make up the 37 percent of those who think they should be notified if one of their colleagues has HIV. Back to the ’80s indeed.