Misperceptions surrounding realities of HIV dominite in India

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Bangalore, Nov 27 (UNI) Confusion and misconception of dreaded HIV/AIDS disease prevailed in India with 79 per cent of the people terming it as fatal and 59 per cent believing that there was cure, according to a global study conducted by the M A C-AIDS Fund.

Lack of access to information on HIV/AIDS and how it was contracted was the top issue contributing to the spread of the virus in the country which had assumed 'serious proportions', it said.

A survey was conducted in September this year with about 500 interviews were conducted in each of nine countries including United States, UK, Russia, France, China, India, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa, according to a release here today.

About 65 per cent of Indians reported stigma and shame to be major contributing factors and barriers to stem the epidemic. People were more uncomfortable interacting on intimate levels with those who were HIV positive.

44 per cent said they would not be comfortable sharing the same physician as someone with HIV or AIDS, 38 per cent reporting they feel uncomfortable working alongside a person with HIV/AIDS, and 41 per cent saying they did not want to live in the same house as someone who has the virus.

M A C-AIDS Fund Chairman John Demsey said, "the survey results illustrate the urgent need for public access in India to information on HIV and AIDS. There is a need to improve basic education about the realities of the disease including how it was contracted and how it is treated. Some serious on-the-ground work to alleviate the sense of shame and stigma that surrounds the disease and prevents people from being safe and seeking treatment." MORE UNI

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