Many Americans Support Increased Domestic Funding To Address HIV/AIDS, Report Says
Many Americans support increased funding to address HIV/AIDS in the U.S. according to a report released Wednesday for the National AIDS Coordinating Committee with support from the MAC AIDS Fund, Reuters Health reports.
The report -- titled "Impressions of HIV/AIDS in America: A Report on Conversations With People Throughout the Country" -- aimed to provide a better understanding of perceptions regarding HIV/AIDS among average U.S. residents. For the report, researchers interviewed "people in five focus groups, which featured a cross-section of Americans living in urban, suburban and rural settings. Several experts in HIV/AIDS also contributed to the report," according to Reuters.
Focus group participants were generally supportive of increased domestic funding for HIV/AIDS programs, particularly prevention, education and vaccine research programs. The report found that HIV/AIDS has fallen "off the radar" of many Americans but that many people are sympathetic to HIV-positive people. The report also found that some people continue to attach a stigma to HIV and do not understand how the virus is transmitted. Many participants also said HIV-positive people have "risky lifestyles," the report found.
"Many people we spoke with had inconsistent views of HIV/AIDS," lead researcher Jonathan Rochkind said, adding, "Even though most people were aware of the primary ways HIV is transmitted, when presented with the idea of being in casual contact with people who are HIV-positive, they often said it was a possibility HIV could be transmitted that way and that they were concerned about the risk." Rebecca Haag, CEO and president of the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, said the report "highlights the empathy people have for those living with HIV/AIDS, and an understanding that access to medical care and drug treatment is critical." Haag added, "Unfortunately, the reality in this country is that about one-half of those living with HIV/AIDS are not in care and treatment" (Reuters Health, 5/13).
The report is available online (.pdf).