Eight out of ten French people say they are well informed about HIV, according to a survey. In reality, several important pieces of information about the virus are little known to the general public.
- The French feel like they are well informed about HIV.
- In reality, many people are unaware of certain important information regarding testing or transmission of the virus.
- Improving French people’s knowledge about HIV involves informing young people in school.
Are you well informed about HIV? Eight out of ten French people answer yes to this question, according to a survey by Crips Île-de-France (Regional Center for AIDS Information and Prevention and Youth Health) carried out with Harris Interactive. THE results are published on the occasion of World AIDS Day, Friday December 1st. For two years, these figures have been stable but they mask another reality: the knowledge of the French is often limited about screening, treatments or even prevention.
An HIV-positive person on treatment does not transmit HIV
One in two French people are unaware that a person receiving treatment does not transmit HIV. “It has become clear today that people living with HIV with an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV sexually.”warns UNAIDS. This undetectable viral load is the result of so-called combined treatment. “Combination treatment with at least three different antiretroviral drugs has now become the norm for all people newly diagnosed with HIV.”, specifies the organization. It prevents the virus from multiplying and can make it disappear from the blood. “It thus allows the patient’s immune system to recover, defeat infections and avoid the development of AIDS and other long-term effects of HIV infection.”
HIV: condoms are not the only means of prevention
The survey also showed that many people do not know all the means of prevention. 64% of respondents think that a condom is the only way to protect yourself from the virus. Nearly half of those surveyed do not know about PreP, pre-exposure prophylaxis. Intended for people most at risk, the drug prevents cells from being infected by the virus.
HIV testing is free and without a prescription
Regarding screening, “only a small majority of French people say they know that it is free in all medical analysis laboratories (59%), and does not require a prescription (57%).”, details the study. As Health Insurance points out, a screening blood test, in the laboratory, without a prescription, appointment or advance payment, is possible. Sexual health centers and free information, screening and diagnosis centers also offer free screenings.
How to improve French people’s knowledge about HIV?
For Bastien Vibert, head of HIV programs – Crips Île-de-France, it is necessary to improve the information of the French. “When around 5,000 HIV contaminations are discovered each year in our country, it goes without saying that to achieve the objective of controlling the epidemic within 7 years, the response must be strong and proactive, he recalls. We have a triple challenge here: inform to make prevention and screening a reality, equip young people with sexuality education, and train health professionals to enable them to address sexual health in interviews..”
To achieve this, Crips Île-de-France and vih.org are publishing: “HIV today, the keys to understanding – 2024 edition”, a brochure intended for front-line health professionals. Furthermore, the Crips requests compliance with the three sexuality education sessions, provided for in the law of July 4, 2001. The latter stipulates that “Information and sexuality education are provided in schools, colleges and high schools at least three sessions per year and by homogeneous age groups..