Home > New Eurobarometer survey on AIDS prevention.

Dunne, Mary (2006) New Eurobarometer survey on AIDS prevention. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 20, Winter 2006 , pp. 20-21.

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In October 2006, the European Commission published a Special Eurobarometer survey on AIDS prevention.1 This survey gathered public opinion from 25,000 respondents in the 25 member states, the four acceding and candidate countries, and the non-government-controlled areas of Cyprus.  In Ireland,TNS MRBI carried out 1,000 interviews between September and October 2005.  Results of this survey are compared with a Eurobarometer survey on this issue which took place in the 15 member states in 2002.2 

Respondents’ perceptions about how people catch HIV and AIDS

According to the survey report, ‘Europeans know how HIV can be contracted but some uncertainty emerges when it comes to ways in which the virus cannot be transmitted.’

Almost all respondents (97%)knew that it is possible to contract HIV by an infected needle, by receiving infected blood, and by having sex without protection with someone who has AIDS or who is HIV positive. 

 

When asked about ways in which HIV or AIDS cannot be transmitted, respondents were more uncertain.Only 40% knew that it is not possible to be infected with HIV by kissing on the mouth.  Almost half (around 45%) mistakenly believed that it is possible to be infected by sharing drinking glasses or toilet seats with, donating blood to, or taking care of HIV-positive or AIDS patients.  There were some large differences between the highest and the lowest percentages of correct answers given.For instance, 89% of Swedes knew that it is not possible to become HIV positive by giving blood, compared to 16% of Slovakians.  

 

Most Europeans knew that it is not possible to contract AIDS or HIV by shaking hands with, handling objects touched by, or eating a meal prepared by someone who has AIDS or is HIV positive.Respondents from new member states were more likely than those of the old EU15 to give an incorrect answer to questions relating to ways of contracting the disease. 

 

Irish responses tended to fall below the European average for correct answers (Table 1). There was a greater level of uncertainty about the way HIV and AIDS can be contracted, with more ‘possibly’ and ‘don’t know’ answers throughout.

 

Table 1   Respondents’ knowledge about the ways AIDS can be caught

 

 

No

Possibly

Yes

Don't know

 

 

%

%

%

%

Being injected with a needle which has been used by someone who has AIDS or who is HIV positive

EU*

1

3

94

1

Ireland

1

6

90

4

Receiving blood from someone who has AIDS or who is HIV positive

EU

1

3

94

2

Ireland

1

5

91

3

Having sex without protection with someone who has AIDS or who is HIV positive

EU

1

3

94

2

Ireland

1

6

90

4

Kissing on the mouth someone who has AIDS or who is HIV positive

EU

40

30

24

6

Ireland

28

38

23

11

Drinking from a glass which has just been used by someone who has AIDS or who is HIV positive

EU

52

27

15

6

Ireland

48

28

11

13

Giving blood

EU

54

13

30

3

Ireland

59

14

17

10

Sitting on a toilet seat which has been used by someone who has AIDS or who is HIV positive

EU

55

26

13

7

Ireland

51

25

11

13

Taking care of someone who has AIDS or who is HIV positive

EU

58

25

12

4

Ireland

58

22

10

10

Eating a meal prepared by someone who has AIDS or who is HIV positive

EU

70

17

7

6

Ireland

71

13

4

12

Handling objects touched by someone who has AIDS or who is HIV positive

EU

78

13

5

4

* EU figure is the aggregate percentage from 25 member states

 Since 2002, awareness had dropped in Italy, Spain and the UK, but levels were notably higher in Portugal and Germany and, to some extent, in France and Belgium. Irish awareness does not appear to have changed significantly over this time.

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Item Type:Article
Issue Title:Issue 20, Winter 2006
Date:October 2006
Page Range:pp. 20-21
Publisher:Health Research Board
Volume:Issue 20, Winter 2006
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Available)
Subjects:G Health and disease > Disorder by cause > Communicable disease > Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
VA Geographic area > Europe
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Political process > Public opinion
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Health-related prevention > Health information and education > Communicable disease control

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