ViiV Healthcare, the global specialist HIV company majority owned by GSK, with Pfizer and Shionogi as shareholders, today announced new data from a perceptions survey which unveils a widespread gap in public knowledge and understanding of HIV worldwide. The data found that three quarters of people (74%) believe that there are still negative perceptions when it comes to people living with HIV, and that one in six adults agree that if a friend or colleague was living with HIV, they might look at them negatively. While the majority of people surveyed did report feeling comfortable with physical contact, including holding hands (76%) or hugging (75%), only 1 in 2 people would feel comfortable dating someone living with HIV. Concerningly, the survey also found that a quarter of adults (25%) believe that it is not appropriate for employees to talk about HIV in the workplace, a factor continuing to perpetuate HIV as a taboo subject.1
The survey, conducted online by Opinium in 2022, collected insights from 8,000 adults across eight countries including the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Africa and Brazil. It also explored perceptions around language and the role it plays in how HIV is viewed and addressed, where:
- 70% agree that the use of stigmatising language could negatively impact the mental health and prevent at-risk communities from accessing HIV prevention services
- 80% of respondents feel that it is their responsibility to ensure the use of appropriate and non-stigmatising language when it comes to HIV
ViiV is one of many organisations advocating for people-first language to eliminate inappropriate and stigmatising terms such as people ‘infected with HIV’ or ‘catch HIV’, which continue to fuel negative attitudes and outdated perceptions.
“When we talk about HIV in conversation, in the media, within clinical settings, policies and guidelines, the use of stigmatising language can marginalise people living with, or affected by HIV,” says HIV physician Dr Laura Waters, Chair of British HIV Association and founder of the People First Charter. “Person-first language must be the absolute norm to help challenge HIV-related stigma and discrimination. We’ve come a long way – but too many examples persist and we need a unified voice to challenge these.”
HIV in View campaign collaborator and drag superstar Charity Kase says, “HIV has changed. Members of the HIV community can lead vibrant, rewarding lives and deserve to live peacefully without fear of judgement. It’s encouraging to see that a large number of people across the world are accepting of people living with HIV and their experiences, but clearly more needs to be done to address the lingering misconception from personal conversations to the words we use on dating apps, stigmatising language continues to stand in the way of us living in a truly open society that is free from intolerance. I hope these findings open the world’s eyes to how far we’ve come in the 40 years since HIV arrived on the scene, but also how far there is to go.”
“It is clear that there is an urgent need to increase knowledge and awareness of HIV, dismantle associated stigma, and ultimately reinforce the need to raise HIV on the global health agenda.” says Deborah Waterhouse, Chief Executive Officer of ViiV Healthcare. “This World AIDS Day, inclusivity and health equity remain at the forefront of our HIV efforts, and we urge every person to come together to help address inequalities, fight HIV stigma and discrimination which are currently holding back our progress of ending AIDS worldwide.”
These data were collected in support of the HIV in View campaign, which aims to challenge negative perceptions about HIV by showing the real-life experiences of the HIV community and sharing their stories. Launched in 2020, the campaign introduced the HIV in View gallery, a collaboration between ViiV Healthcare and Shutterstock Studios which shares the stories of individuals around the world leading rich and rewarding lives. The Shutterstock Studios gallery is filled with inspiring examples of just how much things have changed for many people living with HIV, a far cry from the fear once associated with the virus. The corresponding In Conversation video series was developed to show honest conversations around living with HIV, touching upon key topics such as the impact of language on stigma, disparities for transgender people living with HIV, and the need for an inclusive approach to HIV care.
To download images from the HIV in View gallery, click here.
To view episodes from In Conversation, click here
For more information on the HIV in View campaign, click here
About the survey
This survey was conducted online by Opinium on behalf of ViiV Healthcare from 28 September to 6 October 2022 among 8,000 adults aged 18 and older across eight countries. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Kate Senter, Global Corporate and Internal Communications Director at ViiV Healthcare: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editor
The HIV in View collection is available for free under Shutterstock’s standard license to use in projects, campaigns and communications. Users who require the enhanced license will be charged the higher license fee, of which 100% of the proceeds will be donated to (RED), a non-profit organisation helping fund the fight to end AIDS, at the discretion of Shutterstock. For additional information on the license comparison, visit: https://www.shutterstock.com/license-comparison.
About ViiV Healthcare
ViiV Healthcare is a global specialist HIV company established in November 2009 by GSK (LSE: GSK) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) dedicated to delivering advances in treatment and care for people living with HIV and for people who are at risk of acquiring HIV. Shionogi became a ViiV shareholder in October 2012. The company’s aims are to take a deeper and broader interest in HIV and AIDS than any company has done before and take a new approach to deliver effective and innovative medicines for HIV treatment and prevention, as well as support communities affected by HIV.
For more information on the company, its management, portfolio, pipeline, and commitment, please visit www.viivhealthcare.com.
GSK is a global biopharma company with a purpose to unite science, technology, and talent to get ahead of disease together. Find out more at gsk.com/company
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1 ViiV Healthcare Data on File (2022)
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