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Widespread ignorance about HIV

4th July 2007

Research carried out for the HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust has shown that there is still widespread ignorance about HIV, particularly among young people.

hiv

The survey found more than 20% of people aged 18 to 24 mistakenly thought there was a cure for HIV and 25% of that age thought condoms have holes in them which let HIV through.

More than one in ten young people thought the virus could be passed through kissing and while there is a theoretical risk of this – if both parties have open sores, cuts or bleeding gums - there has only been one suspected case of HIV being passed on in this way. Only a third of those surveyed said they thought they had received good sex education at school.

The research was carried out among 1,000 adults to mark 25 years since the death of Terrence Higgins in 1982, whose battle with AIDS inspired friends and colleagues to set up the charity.

Nick Partridge, chief executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “It’s frightening that 25 years after Terry Higgins' death, this level of confusion exists. The lack of good sex education means many young people are leaving school ignorant about HIV and safer sex.

“HIV is now the fastest growing serious health condition in the UK, and there is no cure. It's time to get our facts straight.?

Since Terry Higgins died, more than 17,000 others have died from AIDS-related diseases and there are now more than 70,000 people living with HIV in the UK.

 

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