More than 80 percent of Japanese responding to a poll believe AIDS patients and people infected with HIV should not be discriminated against — but many are still reluctant to even share an office with them — according to a Cabinet Office survey released Saturday.

The survey was conducted last December on 5,000 people aged 15 or older, of whom 69.7 percent responded. It is the fourth survey of its kind on AIDS, but first to include teenagers, officials said.

The results showed that teenagers are most fearful of contracting AIDS, although they have a relatively poor understanding of how the disease is transmitted and how it can be prevented.

The survey found that 37.4 percent of the teenage respondents replied that they are worried about contracting AIDS, compared with 20.8 percent of all the respondents.

Regarding society’s treatment of AIDS sufferers, 84.1 percent of the respondents agreed that there should not be prejudice or discrimination against AIDS patients or those infected with HIV, while only 9.9 percent disagreed.

Should friends or people close to them become infected, 59.5 percent answered they would continue to have relations with them.

However, 45.3 percent said they would be reluctant to work in the same place as people suffering from AIDS or infected with HIV, outnumbering the 39.6 percent who said it would not matter and the 15.2 percent who did not know.

Of those who said they would be reluctant to work with AIDS patients, 34.2 percent cited the risk of becoming infected themselves, 65.9 percent said it would be worrying and 36.2 percent pointed to possible negative effects on their working environment.

Asked about means of infection, sexual intercourse was listed by 96.4 percent of all respondents, but by only 91.8 percent of teens. Sharing razors or tooth brushes was listed by 61.2 percent of general respondents and by 46.1 percent of teens.

Breast feeding was listed by 51.5 percent of the overall respondents, but by only 38.7 percent of teens, the survey showed.

More than 70 percent of teenagers did not know that free and anonymous HIV tests are available at public health centers.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.