More than 50 percent of respondents have negative impressions of people with HIV and AIDS, a survey released on Monday showed.
The survey found that 40 percent of respondents had false or negative ideas about people with HIV, such as the belief they contracted the virus due to sexual promiscuity or because they are members of the LGBT community, said Zhuang Ping (莊苹), the head of the Taiwan AIDS Nurses’ Association.
The survey showed that 46 percent of respondents thought the disease was inevitably deadly, while 5 percent believed it to be solely sexually transmitted.
Eighty percent of respondents said that they were knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS, and most said that they did not consider themselves at risk of contracting the virus and had never thought of getting an HIV test or did not know how to get tested, the survey showed.
It also found that 70 percent did not know that daily medication reduces the risk of getting HIV if they were exposed to the virus.
Fewer than 50 percent of respondents said that people with HIV should not feel ashamed, while 45 percent did not agree that people with HIV should receive equitable and friendly treatment.
The unfriendly attitude toward people with HIV/AIDS can be detrimental to preventing and controlling the disease, Zhuang said, calling on people to support those who are HIV-positive.
If people with HIV receive antiretroviral therapy and maintain an undetectable viral load of less than 200 copies per milliliter for more than six months, they are not considered infectious, said Hung Chien-ching (洪健清), head of the Taiwan AIDS Society.
Taiwan should promote the concept that “undetectable equals untransmittable,” which is based on the scientific consensus that people with HIV who are undergoing an effective antiretroviral therapy and have undetectable levels of the virus will not transmit HIV sexually, Hung said.
The online survey was conducted from May 21 to May 29 among 500 men and 500 women aged 18 to 50.
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