‘1 in 5 still believe you can catch the virus by kissing an HIV-positive person on the mouth’
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‘1 in 5 still believe you can catch the virus by kissing an HIV-positive person on the mouth’

© Belga

The general public has a poor understanding of HIV according to the Brussels based AIDS Prevention Platform.

With the World AIDS day approaching on 1 December, the NGO launched an online quiz, aiming to draw more understanding to the disease and help fight discrimination.

Out of the 1,300 respondents, 33% were unaware that the daily HIV medication taken by HIV-positive people makes them having effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners.

Twenty-three percent of respondents are also unaware that penetration without a condom is the riskiest sexual practice for HIV transmission, 21% of them still believe that you can catch the virus by kissing an HIV-positive person on the mouth and 18% incorrectly believe that withdrawing before ejaculation protects both partners from transmission of the virus.

In addition, only 31% of respondents are aware that semen, blood and breast milk can transmit the virus. Many mistakenly believe that saliva is a vector of the virus.

A quarter of respondents are not aware of the possible post-exposure treatment. “This emergency drug makes it possible to limit the risk of being infected with HIV after a risky relationship,” the AIDS prevention platform emphasised.

In terms of discrimination against people with AIDS, 23% of respondents are unaware that an employer is prohibited from dismissing a worker because of their HIV status.

The Brussels Times

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