Scottish Residents Cannot Identify Main Routes Of HIV Transmission
More than25% of Scottish residents are unable to identify HIV's main transmission routes-- sexual intercourse, blood transfusions, injection drug use andmother-to-child transmission -- according to the recently released National AIDS Trust Public Attitudes to HIV survey, BBC News reports (BBC News,1/17). About 6% of residents across the United Kingdom were able toidentify correctly HIV's main transmission routes, the Metro reports (Metro, 1/16).
The survey also found that more than 35% of people living in Scotland did not know that HIV can betransmitted among men who have sex with men who do not use condoms, comparedwith 26% of residents throughout the United Kingdom. Almost one-third ofScottish residents also did not know that HIV can be transmitted throughheterosexual sex when a condom is not used, compared with 21% of U.K. residents(BBC News, 1/17). Nine percent of U.K. residents in 2000 knew thatHIV could be transmitted if a condom is not used during sex, according to thesurvey. In addition, 31% of people throughout the U.K.,including in Scotland,did not know HIV can be transmitted through injection drug use, compared with12% in 2000. More than two-thirds of people said that their relationships wouldnot be affected if a friend or relative was diagnosed as HIV-positive, thesurvey found.
Deborah Jack, CEO of NAT, said in recent years, the United Kingdom has "witnessedknowledge and understanding about HIV decline at the same time that HIV diagnoseshave reached an all-time high." She added that if current trends continue,more than 100,000 people will be living with HIV/AIDS in the United Kingdomby 2010 (Metro, 1/16). Jack said that the "lack of awarenessand understanding about HIV in Scotlandis worrying," adding that the survey's findings show the public healthcommunity "cannot afford to be complacent about HIV education andawareness." She added that the Scottish government and local officials"must work together to reinvest" in HIV/AIDS education and awarenessprograms (BBC News, 1/17).
In related news, Scottish Public Health Minister Shona Robison on Wednesdaylaunched a new program to increase access to sexual health information in ruralareas, The Herald reports. Robison said that peopleliving in rural areas have had increased difficulty in seeking confidentialadvice about sexual health. The three-year program will cost one millionpounds, or about $1.9 million.
Robison said the Scottish government "has made plain its commitment toimproving public health and tackling health inequalities." She added thatit will "take time to reverse rising incidence of sexually transmittedinfections," including HIV. According to The Herald, 345 newHIV cases were diagnosed in Scotlandin 2006 (Dinwoodie, The Herald, 1/17).
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