A new survey from the MAC AIDS Fund suggests a lot of people the world over still need to be educated about HIV and AIDS.

For instance, more than 40 percent of 4,510 respondents from nine countries did not understand AIDS is always a fatal disease.

Many also wrongly believed there is a cure for HIV, while nearly half of the survey’s respondents believed that most HIV-infected patients were being treated for their disease. Actual data suggests the figure is closer to 20 percent.

“When people believe the disease is not fatal and that there is a cure, that’s because we haven’t educated them well.”

The survey, which included respondents from the U.S., U.K., Brazil, China, France, India, Mexico and Russia, also highlighted the stigma that still surrounds HIV and AIDS.

Almost half of respondents said they felt uncomfortable walking next to an HIV-infected person, 52 percent did not want to live in the same house and 79 percent did not want to date someone living with the virus.

“The results of this survey coupled with the recent failure of the most promising AIDS vaccine trial underscore that we are not going to vaccinate or cure our way out of this epidemic,” Nancy Mahon, executive director of the MAC AIDS Fund, told Reuters Health.

“All of us, particularly in the funding community, need to redouble our efforts and resources and focus on basic and effective HIV prevention programs that address gender, age and race differences in a direct and culturally competent way,” she added.

Chrys Hudson © 2007 GayWired.com; All Rights Reserved.