Over 40 percent in EU take no AIDS precautions

|

More than 40 percent of people in the European Union take no precautions against AIDS during sex, an EU survey showed on Monday.

According to the poll, carried out in September and October of last year, fewer people in the 15 "old" member states said they practiced safe sex compared to the previous survey conducted in 2002.

More than 40 percent of people in the European Union take no precautions against AIDS during sex, an EU survey showed on Monday.

According to the poll, carried out in September and October of last year, fewer people in the 15 "old" member states said they practiced safe sex compared to the previous survey conducted in 2002.

The Eurobarometer poll of just under 25,000 EU citizens aged more than 15 showed nearly half were poorly informed about the risks of contracting HIV/AIDS, with those in the bloc's 10 newest member countries the most confused.

According to figures from the United Nations, over half a million people have the AIDS-causing HIV virus in western Europe and the number is rising.

"We must not lose sight of the fact that HIV/AIDS is still one of the biggest preventable killers worldwide," EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said.

"I am most worried about the decreasing attention to protection," he said.

Asked whether they took precautions during intercourse, 41 percent of those polled said "no" and 48 percent "yes."

In the 15 old member states, some 42 percent said they used precautions, compared to 34 percent in the 10 new, mostly eastern EU states.

The survey showed misconceptions about how the virus is contracted and spread. Nearly 45 percent of respondents said they believed they could catch HIV/AIDS by sharing glasses, sitting on a toilet seat or donating blood.

There were more misconceptions in new member states. Forty-seven percent of Slovakians surveyed thought the disease could be contracted through kissing on the mouth, and 28 percent of Lithuanians thought sharing a glass was a risk.

source