The stigma is real with this one.
According to a new study, nearly half of British men said they believe people living with HIV “don’t care” about infecting others, proving that there is still a long way to go in the fight against the stigma that still surrounds the virus.
Overall, 6 in 10 British respondents to the survey conducted by Mylan – who are currently supplying NHS England’s ongoing PrEP Impact Study – said that they believe people living with HIV “care” about passing on the virus.
Digging into that data, however, you’ll see that around 45% of men believe people with HIV “don’t care” about infecting others. When it comes to female respondents, 36% also agreed with that statement.
More shockingly, only 35% of the people asked agreed that people living with HIV should be allowed to have a baby.
What’s more, 65% said they would not be comfortable with their child being in regular contact with a person who has acquired HIV.
“These statistics not only show worrying and varying levels of education around HIV, but also an indirect discrimination as a result,” said Jean-Yves Brault, Mylan UK country manager.
“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.”
Chair of the British HIV Associations Guidelines Committee, Dr Laura Waters, 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 month, the United Kingdom is one of the first countries to exceed its UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets, which were set as part of the ongoing battle against HIV/AIDS.
Public Health England have reported that an estimated 92% of people living with HIV in the UK have been diagnosed, 98% of those diagnosed were on treatment, and 97% of those on treatment were virally suppressed.
The report adds that there are an estimated total of 102,000 people living with HIV in the UK in 2017.
Of that total, 8% (8,200) were unaware of their infection.
However, 87% of all people living with HIV had an undetectable viral load as result of effective treatment and were unable to pass on their infection to other people.