Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of the National AIDS Trust is asking for the government to re-invest in educating the public about HIV:
"In recent years we have witnessed knowledge and understanding about HIV decline at the same time that HIV diagnoses have reached an all time high. "We cannot afford to be complacent about HIV education. "Ignorance about HIV increases vulnerability to infection and also contributes to stigma and discrimination."A recent poll carried out Ipsos Mori shows that public ignorance in the ways that HIV can be transmitted is growing at a frightening rate. Of those surveyed (1,981 adults aged 16 and over) 21% did not know that unprotected sex between a man and a woman was a way catching HIV. This is compared to just 9% in 2000. 26% of those surveyed did not know that unprotected sex between two men is a way of contracting HIV, up from 12% in 2000. That we have got to the stage were a quarter of the adult population do not realise that you can contract HIV through unprotected sex is abysmal, and I believe it shows that the government are failing in their duty to educate the public.
The National AIDS Trust last year revealed that one in ten gay men in London is HIV+, just as a reduction of £650,000 spending on the London Gay Men's HIV Prevention Programme was proposed by London's Primary Care Trusts (PCTs). This is particularly worrying when you consider that 24% of the men and women surveyed said they do not use a condom with a new sexual partner as a matter of course.
We need the government to urgently re-invest in HIV prevention education before more lives are ruined due to simple ignorance of the dangers of unprotected sex.