Press Article03/03/2011

HIV 'shyness' marks knowledge gap

When it comes to talking about HIV, shyness can be a barrier to useful knowledge.

New studies have shown that many African and Caribbean communities are avoiding the topic, which means they know less about how the virus is transmitted.

A study by Ipsos Mori and the National Aids Trust on public knowledge and attitudes over HIV showed that ethnic minorities were more likely than white people to say they don't know how HIV is passed from person-to-person.

Asian, African and Caribbean people are also "not likely to mention sex without a condom between two men as a method of transmission", according to the report.

A total of 46% of African and Caribbean respondents did not mention sex between two men; this compares to 20% of white people.

In general, HIV knowledge among the general population showed a "worrying" dip over 10 years. For example, there was a perception that coughing and sneezing could transmit HIV.

The report read: "The effects of (HIV) stigma mean levels of HIV testing and condom use are too low. Homophobia is also a problem amongst these communities, which heightens the stigma and discrimination experienced by people living with HIV."

Copyright © Press Association 2011


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