More than half of all Scots do not know all the ways HIV can be transmitted, according to a survey.

The poll, conducted by the Scottish charity Waverley Care, showed the myths about catching the virus still existed.

One person in ten incorrectly thought that the virus could be transmitted by kissing.

A small number of people also believed HIV could be caught by sharing a glass (3%) or a toilet seat (2%).

The charity, which is running the Always Hear campaign, said this lack of knowledge highlighted that education of HIV needed to improve.

Their chief executive Grant Sugden said: “These new findings prove that there are still awareness gaps about HIV in Scotland, which needs to be addressed.

“With almost 6,000 people living with HIV in Scotland, it’s vital that more time and effort is spent educating the public so that we can hear the truth about HIV, eradicate the fear and ultimately put an end to the stigma that surrounds the condition.”

More than 1,000 people were questioned, with 54% of them unable to correctly identify all of the ways HIV is and is not transmitted from a list of possible routes.

Almost a quarter (23%) were unaware that someone with the disease can live for more than 20 years, while 15% mistakenly thought someone with HIV cannot have a baby who is HIV-negative.

Despite the lack of knowledge shown, there was still support from the people surveyed, which was conducted by YouGov.

The majority of people (87%) had sympathy for those with the disease, whilst three out of four Scots (73%) think more needs to be done to tackle stigma and prejudice against people living with HIV in Scotland.

The singer Annie Lennox, who supports the Waverley Care campaign, said: “Stigma is one of the biggest challenges facing the diagnosis and treatment of HIV in Scotland and around the world today.

“HIV treatment has improved dramatically over the last 20 years, but discrimination of the condition still means that people are scared to get tested.

“That’s why I’m backing Waverley Care’s Always Hear campaign to tackle the myths and stigma surrounding HIV in a bid to stop new infections and improve life for people living with the condition today.”


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