Only half of Americans are knowledgeable about HIV. Six in 10 Americans believe you have to be careful around someone with HIV or you’ll catch it, while 90 percent believe HIV stigma still exists. The full study can be found here.
The study on stigma found “people are quick to judge those with HIV,” and that “people make assumptions when someone is tested for HIV.”
At a time when people living with HIV lead long and healthy lives, and cannot transmit the virus when on proper medications, only 60 percent of respondents believed HIV can be treated and nearly 60 percent wrongfully believe it is “important to be careful around people living with HIV to avoid catching it.” The survey also found that only slightly more than half of American adults had seen stories about people living with HIV in the media.
Results of GLAAD and Gilead’s State of HIV Stigma Study
How Informed are Americans About HIV?
- 51 percent of non-LGBTQ Americans vs. 55 percent of LGBTQ Americans “feel knowledgeable about HIV.”
- Only 60 percent of Americans agreed that “HIV is a medical condition that can be treated.” According to the CDC, a person living with HIV who takes HIV medicine as prescribed and stays virally suppressed can stay healthy and has effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to HIV-negative partners.
- 40 percent of non-LGBTQ Americans vs. 34 percent of LGBTQ Americans only “know a little about HIV.” About 10 percent were “unaware” or “do not know much” about HIV (9 percent of non-LGBTQ, 11 percent of LGBTQ).
High Stigma Towards Those Living with HIV Remains:
- Nearly 6 in 10 Americans (59 percent non-LGBTQ, 57 percent LGBTQ) wrongfully agreed that “it is important to be careful around people living with HIV to avoid catching it.”
- 89 percent of Americans believe “there is still stigma around HIV.”
- 88 percent of Americans agree that “people are quick to judge those living with HIV.”
- Despite the fact that a person living with HIV who takes HIV medicine as prescribed has effectively no risk of transmitting HIV, only 35 percent of Americans believe that those living with HIV “shouldn’t have to tell others.”
Visibility of People Living with HIV:
- 54 percent of Americans report having seen stories about people living with HIV.
- A higher percentage of LGBTQ people (61 percent) than non-LGBTQ people (52 percent) report having seen any stories about people living with HIV in the media.
Support for Education, Optimism High:
- Over 90 percent of Americans agree with statements including “information should be readily available,” “promoting prevention should be a high priority,” and “schools should provide prevention information.”
- 90 percent of Americans agree that “people living with HIV can live productive/happy lives” and that “great strides have been made in treatment.”
How Comfortable are Americans with People Living with HIV?
- Americans were least comfortable (54 percent total Americans, 56 percent Non-LGBTQ, 45 percent LGBTQ somewhat/strongly uncomfortable) with a doctor, dentist, or medical professional living with HIV.
- 49 percent of Americans (51 percent non-LGBTQ, 40 percent LGBTQ) were somewhat/strongly uncomfortable with a partner or spouse living with HIV.
- 45 percent of Americans (47 percent non-LGBTQ, 39 percent LGBTQ) were somewhat/strongly uncomfortable with a barber or hairstylist living with HIV.
— David Taffet