Magazine article European Social Policy

Health : Eu25: HIV-Aids Awareness High but Misconceptions Remain

Magazine article European Social Policy

Health : Eu25: HIV-Aids Awareness High but Misconceptions Remain

Article excerpt

At a 2 October EU-level HIV-AIDS prevention round table, focussing on safer sex for young people, the European Commission released the results of the latest Eurobarometer on HIV-AIDS. Those attending the event included youth organisations, representatives from health promotion agencies from EU member states, HIV-AIDS NGOs, advertising agencies, TV broadcasters and condom producers.

The survey looks into public awareness and citizens' behaviour in the context of the AIDS epidemic. Although the level of awareness regarding HIV-AIDS is generally high, citizens from the member states that joined the EU in 2004 tend to provide fewer correct answers. Most Europeans are aware of the risks of sharing needles, receiving infected blood or having unprotected sex. Most respondents also say that this has led them to take precautions when having sexual intercourse and seeking stability in the choice of partners. However, misconceptions still remain. For instance, only 40% of respondents know it is not possible to be infected by HIV when kissing another person on the mouth.

DIE-HARD MISUNDERSTANDINGS

Almost half (around 45%) of respondents think it is possible to be infected by sharing glasses or toilet seats with, donating blood to, or taking care of, HIV-positive or AIDS patients. However, the vast majority of respondents are aware it is not risky to eat a meal prepared by infected persons, shake their hand or handle objects they have touched. …

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