Nine-country Survey Reveals More Than 40 Percent Do Not Understand AIDS is
Policy Experts Gather In New York To Discuss Survey's Implications On
NEW YORK, Nov. 13 /CNW/ -- A new global study from the M-A-C AIDS Fund,
the philanthropic arm of Estee Lauder-owned (NYSE: EL) M-A-C cosmetics,
shockingly reveals that after a quarter of a century of HIV and AIDS, nearly
half of people still do not view the disease as a deadly affliction. Globally,
more then 40 percent of respondents do not understand that AIDS always results
In a collusion of opinion and fact, this first-ever perception audit also
found that 86 percent of adults in the United States, UK, France, Russia,
China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa believe stigma and shame to be a
contributor to the spread of HIV. Seventy-six percent report lack of access to
treatment to be a problem as well.
"Today, more than 25 years after the emergence of the disease, it is
startling to learn that facts about HIV/AIDS are still a guessing game for
much of the world and that many are still in the dark about the undeniable
reality that HIV/AIDS shockingly remains a top global killer," said Nancy
Mahon, executive director of the M-A-C AIDS Fund. "Social stigmas that plagued
us then are still limiting progress now. Understanding the insights from this
new survey, however, is what will help take us to the next level of policy,
prevention and care in the fight against AIDS."
To probe the "next level" in the solution to the global HIV/AIDS crisis,
the MAC AIDS Fund gathered a group of policy experts, grassroots activists and
fundraisers this morning in New York for a roundtable discussion, moderated by
William Holstein, a business journalist who writes for the New York Times and
other top publications and is president of the Overseas Press Club Foundation.
The six-member panel -- including Dr. Thomas Kenyon, Principal Deputy
Coordinator and Chief Medical Officer in the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS
Coordinator; Jennifer Kates, vice president and director of HIV policy for the
Kaiser Family Foundation; Dr. Geeta Rao Gupta, president of the International
Center for Research on Women; Dr. Marsha Martin, director for HIV/AIDS
programs in the Oakland, Calif. mayor's office and a former HIV/AIDS
administrator for the Washington, D.C. Department of Health; Anthony Rapp,
star of Broadway musical and motion picture Rent; and Mahon -- focused their
discussion on three issue areas: access to treatment, stigma and shame and
"As we examine the findings of the MAC AIDS Fund survey, it is important
to keep the broader context in mind -- that only one in five people who needed
treatment in 2006 received it; that countless people living with HIV have
suffered violations of their basic human rights because of their status; and
that today more women than ever before are living with HIV," said Dr. Gupta.
"It is only within that context that we can truly understand the devastating
impact of the misperceptions that still persist, as well as benefits that can
be achieved through accurate information."
"HIV and AIDS is an issue that goes beyond the medical community, beyond
even the policy community. It is a disease that has permeated the very social
and cultural fabric of our lives," said Rapp. "Today's survey from the MAC
AIDS Fund is helping to tell a personal story and give a voice to the people
who are living with the disease every day."
In addition to the panelists, other HIV/AIDS activists, community leaders
and business leaders were on hand at the roundtable event.
John Demsey, Group President for the Estee Lauder Companies and Chairman
of the MAC AIDS Fund said, "Today's survey release and discussion is a
testament to the position that the MAC AIDS Fund has taken in the fight
against HIV and AIDS -- challenging the status quo of the arena by asking
tough honest questions and always proposing new approaches to help find a
Other top findings of the MAC AIDS Fund survey include:
-- ACCESS TO TREATMENT
Many people mistakenly believe there is currently a cure for HIV.
-- While 79 percent of Indians understand that AIDS is always fatal,
fully 59 percent wrongly believe that there is a cure for HIV
-- Older adults in France are twice as likely as young people to think
there is a cure for HIV and nearly three in five do not understand
that AIDS is fatal.
-- In the United States, African-Americans are twice as likely as
Whites to believe there is a cure for HIV.
People believe treatment is more widely available than it is.
-- Nearly half of all respondents believe that most people diagnosed
with HIV are receiving treatment, when in fact only one in five
people who needed treatment received it in 2006.
-- Only people in China and South Africa believe by two-thirds or more
that most people who are infected with HIV are not receiving the
treatment they need.
-- Formal education makes a difference in the UK, where people without
university degrees are more likely than their educated counterparts
to believe most people with HIV are receiving treatment.
-- STIGMA AND SHAME
Prejudice, fear and stigma continue to exclude people living with AIDS
from the mainstream.
-- Across all countries, majorities are not comfortable interacting on
intimate levels with people who are HIV positive: Nearly half of
people are uncomfortable working alongside those who have the
disease; 52 percent do not want to live in the same house with
someone who is HIV positive; and 79 percent are not comfortable
dating someone who has HIV or AIDS.
-- Behind only China, people in Mexico outpaced all other respondents
by more than 10 percentage points in reporting they are
uncomfortable with the idea of living in the same house with someone
who has the disease.
-- More than 40 percent of people in India reported they would be
uncomfortable to visit the same physician as someone with HIV/AIDS.
-- More then 30 percent of people in the United States maintain they
are uncomfortable with working with someone who has HIV or AIDS.
Despite holding onto stigma, people understand all segments of the
population are at risk to contract HIV.
-- Three in five (60%) global respondents recognize "responsible"
people can contract HIV, yet more than one-quarter believe you can
only get the disease from "sinful" behavior.
-- Yet in Brazil, China and Mexico, 60 percent or more of people
believe that acting "responsibly" will protect people from HIV
Gender roles and corresponding discussions of safe sex with a partner
are seen as contributors to the spread of HIV.
-- Seventy-three percent of people report that a problem contributing
to the spread of HIV/AIDS is that women find it too difficult to
discuss safe sex with their partners, despite the fact that using a
condom is proven to be highly effective in preventing HIV infection.
-- In Brazil the difficulty women face in discussing safe sex with
their partners ranks as the top problem contributing to the
disease's spread, while the safe sex discussion for men ranks at the
bottom of the list.
-- In South Africa difficulty women face in discussing safe sex ranks
third, under only limited access to treatment and shame and stigma.
-- In the United States, UK, France and Russia the difficulty men face
in discussing safe sex is seen as a bigger problem than for women in
the spread of HIV.
The survey was conducted during a two-week period in September 2007.
Approximately 500 interviews were conducted in each of nine countries -- the
United States, UK, Russia, France, China, India, Mexico, Brazil and South
Africa. All nine countries are weighted equally in the totals presented to
ensure that countries with larger populations did not dominate the results.
Adult respondents were surveyed via phone, using random digit dial techniques,
and face-to-face in countries where phone access is less universal (South
Africa, India, Mexico and Brazil). The survey was administered in official in-
About the M-A-C AIDS Fund
The M-A-C AIDS Fund, the heart and soul of M-A-C cosmetics, was
established in 1994 to support men, women and children affected by HIV/AIDS
globally. M-A-F is a pioneer in HIV/AIDS funding, providing financial support
to organizations working with underserved regions and populations. As the
largest corporate non-pharmaceutical giver in the arena, M-A-F strives to
raise awareness of four key issues in the fight against HIV/AIDS: prevention,
the link between poverty and HIV/AIDS, access to care, and adherence to
medications and treatments. To date M-A-F has raised $100 million (U.S.)
exclusively through the sale of M-A-C's VIVA GLAM lipstick and lipglass,
donating 100 percent of the sale price to fight HIV/AIDS. For more
information, visit www.macaidsfund.org.
Media Contact: Amy Juaristi
For further information:
For further information: Amy Juaristi of Weber Shandwick,
+1-212-445-8252 or mobile, +1-323-810-2504, firstname.lastname@example.org, for
The M-A-C AIDS Fund Web Site: http://www.macaidsfund.org