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Friday, 5 July, 2002, 14:10 GMT 15:10 UK
Young people ignorant on HIV
Young people said they don't know enough about HIV
Almost one in three young people in the UK wrongly believe there is a cure for HIV.

A nationwide survey also reveals that one in four 18 to 24 year olds think the disease can be caught through kissing, while one in 10 think it can be caught from toilet seats.

The survey was carried out by the Terrence Higgins Trust to mark its 20th anniversary.


This level of ignorance about HIV is shocking

Paul Ward, Terrence Higgins Trust
Charity officials described the findings as "shocking" and urged the government to step up efforts to improve awareness of the disease.

Little knowledge

The survey of 1,000 adults by ICM found almost half of all those questioned said they did not know enough or knew very little about HIV.

The same proportion said they would be worried about HIV if they had unprotected intercourse with a new partner.

However, one in 10 said they would not be worried if they had unprotected sex with a new partner.

Just one in five said they would be concerned about catching sexually transmitted infections if they had sex with a new partner without using a condom.

One in 10 said they would be concerned about getting pregnant in the same circumstances, although this rises to one in four in the 18 to 24 age group.

The survey also found that two out of three people believe sex education for young people is inadequate.

Paul Ward, deputy chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "Twenty years ago Terry Higgins died with Aids. This level of ignorance about HIV is shocking.

"Sex education in this country is failing a whole generation of young people and this, combined with the recent dramatic rises in rates of sexually transmitted infections demonstrates that we are storing up problems for future generations."

Over 14,000 Britons have died with Aids over the past 20 years. An estimated 50,000 people are living with HIV, although many have not been diagnosed.

Warning

A report by Unicef, published earlier this week, warned that half of all new cases of HIV infection in the developing world were among young people.

A study by UNAids also revealed that the epidemic is still in its early stages and is spreading fast in many parts of the world.

It projected that 68m will die from the disease by 2020.

Thousands of delegates are expected to discuss those findings at the XIV International Aids conference in Barcelona next week.


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02 Jul 02 | Health
26 Jul 02 | Health
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