New poll finds most think HIV is still a serious issue

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SAN FRANCISCO — A new Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll found that 80% of Americans see HIV as a serious national medical issue. 

The poll is the first to look at HIV since Trump announced a new initiative to significantly against the HIV epidemic in the U.S. at the State of the Union.

Black and Hispanic adults, according to a release from KFF, are more likely than white adults to view the epidemic as very serious for the nation overall and for people they know.

These differences by race also extend to people’s own personal concerns with nearly four in ten black adults (41%) and half (51%) of Hispanic adults saying they are concerned about getting HIV compared to one in ten white adults (12%), the poll stated.

The survey also looked at public awareness of newer HIV prevention and treatment strategies. Less than half (42%) of the public overall is aware of PrEP,.  Awareness of PrEP is highest among black Americans (55%), though a significant minority (45%) don’t know such a drug exists. PrEP awareness has increased since 2014, when 14 percent of the public knew about the drug.

About half (52%) have not heard the term “undetectable.” Another 8 percent say they have heard the term but do not know what it means. They could be unaware that undetectable has been found to also mean untransmittable.  

Other findings:

  • Half (52%) say the U.S. is making progress in addressing the impact of HIV in the country, an increase of 12 percentage points since 2014. Few (8%) say the U.S. is losing ground.
  • Few Americans (8%) say they have heard or read about the Trump administration’s initiative, though most (56%) say they are confident that the U.S. can achieve the goal of eliminating most new HIV infections by 2030.

Most said they are comfortable working with (79%), having a close friendship with (77%), and sharing a living space with (62%) someone who is living with HIV. This is true across racial and ethnic lines.

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