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Half of all British men believe people with HIV ‘are out to infect others’

Half of all British men believe people with HIV ‘are out to infect others’

Red ribbons raise awareness of World AIDS Day

Half of all British men believe people with HIV are ‘out to infect others’, according to a new study.

And it found people are still unaware that those living with undetectable levels of HIV can not transmit the virus.

Mylan, the supplier for the NHS’ PrEP Impact Study, posted the data from its recent survey on HIV awareness.

British people are still ignorant about people with HIV

Some key findings included that only 6 in 10 Brits believe people with HIV ‘care’ about infecting others.

Around 45% of men believe people with HIV ‘don’t care’ about infecting others. Around 36% of women believe this also.

Only 35% of respondents agreed people living with HIV should be allowed to have a baby.

65% said they would not be comfortable with their child being in regular contact with a person living with HIV.

‘These statistics not only show worrying and varying levels of education around HIV, but also an indirect discrimination as a result,’ Mylan UK country manager, Jean-Yves Brault, said.

‘We hope these results foster conversations amongst peer groups in order to better support the HIV community.

‘[We also hope it] highlights the differing levels to which the wider public is educated about this manageable illness.’

Stigma is why we have yet to end the epidemic

Dr Laura Waters, chair of the British HIV Associations Guidelines Committee, added: ‘Stigma against people living with HIV is one of the reasons we have yet been unable to end the epidemic.

‘These survey results, showing deep stigma persists despite availability of effective HIV treatment for almost a generation, highlight an urgent need for misconceptions to be challenged.

‘We know that people on successful treatment, who have undetectable virus in their blood, have a normal life expectancy and cannot transmit HIV to their partners (undetectable=untransmittable or U=U).

‘Stigma is a barrier to testing and to accessing care – ensuring the U=U message is understood by all is a priority’.

Last year saw the first time the number of new cases had decreased for gay and bi men.

And in fact, the number of new infections acquired of gay and bi men has now more than halved. Numbers show new diagnoses peaked around 2,700 in 2012 to 1,200 in 2017.

The success is pointed to condom use, increased HIV testing and the availability of PrEP.