Nearly half of people believe the HIV virus can be developed after being spat at, bitten or treading on a needle, according to new research.
The National Aids Trust (NAT) polled the responses of 12,000 people and found 46% held misconceptions about the HIV virus and ways it can be contracted.
The NAT rejected these perceptions and claimed the actual risk of developing the HIV virus through these activities “is either non-existent or incredibly low”.
Deborah Jack, NAT chief executive, said: “Misinformation about how you can contract HIV leads to anxiety and feeds stigma and discrimination towards people living with the disease.
“This stigma can be incredibly damaging. It is also an immense distraction from the overwhelming risk factor for HIV in the UK, unsafe sex.”
The study was commissioned to raise awareness about STiQ Day, which hopes to prompt people to think about sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Ms Jack added: “STiQ Day is a good opportunity to talk about how people contract, including HIV, how they can protect themselves and others and what they need to do if they do put themselves at risk.”