Today’s 25th anniversary of the death of Terry Higgins has been marked by a new survey from the charity set up in his memory.
Mr Higgins was among the first people to die with AIDS in the UK.
Despite the work of the Terrence Higgins Trust to educate the British public about the dangers of the virus, the survey reveals ignorance among all age groups.
Although 36% who responded to the survey thought sex education was good at schools, 28% of people were ignorant to the level where they thought a hole in a condom led to HIV.
10% believed that the virus could be contracted through sweat, while a further 12% thought sharing cutlery put them at risk of catching HIV.
Nick Partridge, chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, commented:
“It’s frightening that 25 years after Terry’s death, this level of confusion exists.
“The lack of good sex education means many young people are leaving school ignorant about HIV and safer sex.
“HIV is now the fastest growing serious health condition in the UK, and there is no cure. It’s time to get our facts straight. “
The survey found that one in ten 18-24 year-olds thought HIV could be picked up through kissing, while in one of five in this group lacked awareness that there was no cure for HIV.
Since Terry Higgins death, HIV has killed 17,000 others in this country, with a total of over 70,000 people currently living with HIV in the UK.
Many people are unaware that the have they have the virus and there has been an explosion in unsafe sex in porn.
Many people choose to delude themselves the epidemic has gone, but the reality is that more people than ever were diagnosed with HIV in 2006 for the first time.
Gay men and the African community continue to be in the high risk groups for HIV in the UK.