Sexual Health: Nearly half of Brits don't know how HIV is contracted

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A new survey shows myths and rumours still prevail about the virus...

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New research suggests the British public isn't clued up on HIV or how it can be contracted.

Nearly half of Brits (46%) wrongly assumed that you can get HIV from being bitten, spat at or standing on a discarded needle according to the National Aids Trust. In reality, the chances of being infected by these activities is either non-existent or incredibly low.

The survey of 12,000 discovered that only one in four people know 95% of infections are due to unsafe sex and the exchange of bodily fluids.

According to the National Aids Trust this type of misinformation causes anxiety and feeds stigma and discrimination towards people living with the disease.

Other ways of contracting HIV are from sharing contaminated needles or between an infected mother and her baby during birth or breastfeeding.

Strangely, the survey found the public believe HIV was a bigger problem in the 80s and 90s than in the present day. In reality, the number of new cases of HIV has soared in the last 10 years.

There is currently no cure for HIV, but medications have extended life expectancy so people diagnosed in their 30s can expect to live into their 70s.

Condoms, regular STI checks and a knowledge of your partners' sexual history are vital to prevent the spread of the virus.

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