A public opinion survey showing evidence of a stigma toward victims of HIV and AIDS appears in this week's issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
According to a CDC press release, misconceptions about HIV/AIDS result from a lack of information about the disease.
The press release also states that many people avoid HIV/AIDS tests because they are under the impression that the disease will not affect them.
Survey results state that nearly one in five people - 18.7 percent - agreed with the statement "People who got AIDS through sex or drug use have gotten what they deserve."
The survey also indicated that of the 18.7 percent, 25 percent are under the false impression that HIV can be transmitted by sharing a glass or being coughed or sneezed on by an infected person.
HIV primarily is transmitted through sexual intercourse, prenatal exchange, blood transfusions and needle sharing.
Matt Ezzell, coordinator of community education at the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, said HIV stigma is a significant problem. "No one deserves to get a sexually transmitted disease."
Ezzell said more education about the disease is needed.
"Knowledge is power, and the more we know about the realities of these problems that are affecting us, the less power these problems have over us," he said.