The MAC AIDS Fund recently completed a national survey of UK youth, and the results were disturbing. The researchers found that not only did 89 percent of young people not think they were at risk of contracting HIV or AIDS in their lifetime, one third didn’t even know that HIV is a sexually transmitted disease!!! This might explain why adolescents and young adults are one of the few groups in which AIDS deaths are still rising around the globe.
HIV may be a treatable disease. Scientists may be working on a functional cure. However, that doesn’t mean it’s time for us to get complacent. We’re not going to be able to keep making progress unless we continue to do the hard work of education. People need to understand how HIV spreads. They need to understand that safe sex can prevent it. They need to believe that everyone’s at risk. Cure research is great, but this is a preventable infection and we need to keep working on that.