This Kaiser Family Foundation survey finds that there is still a significant minority of people in the United States who believe that HIV can be transmitted by forms of casual contact such as kissing, sharing a glass and touching a toilet seat. The study authors posit that an individual's fears of contracting HIV/AIDS may be a product of HIV-related stigma. Surveyed individuals who believed incorrectly that HIV or AIDS could be transferred through casual contact were also likely to express a higher degree of discomfort about working with someone with HIV/AIDS than those who did not harbor such misconceptions. The study also finds that there is still a large portion of the population, about one in five people, who believe that being tested for HIV will cause people to think less of them. This perception of stigmatization, rather than the way that a test is offered, may explain why a significant portion of the population has not tested for HIV.
The Center for HIV Law and Policy challenges barriers to the rights and health of people affected by HIV through legal advocacy, high-impact policy initiatives, and creation of cross-issue partnerships, networks, and resources. We support movement building that amplifies the power of individuals and communities to mobilize for change that is rooted in racial, gender, and economic justice.