Many young people in Bucks still take a ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude towards STIs, one HIV patient from Aylesbury has warned.
The man, who asked to remain anonymous, contracted the virus 12 years ago from a partner who knew he had HIV but did not tell him.
His partner died shortly after telling him about his condition and he admits he was too naive about the dangers of unprotected sex.
He said: “I just believed it wouldn’t happen to me.
“If you’re in love with someone you trust them, but I should have known better.”
The patient, in his 30s, spoke out as a survey of 15 to 24 year olds in Bucks revealed a fifth wrongly believe there is a cure for HIV, 19% thought it could be transmitted through kissing, 13% through sharing a public toilet seat and 5% via touching. Four per cent of respondents did not even know the disease can be spread through unprotected sex.
Speaking to The Bucks Herald, the man said more funding and better education on sexual diseases would help bring rates down.
He said: “Kids nowadays don’t think it’s something they can catch, they don’t think it’s going to happen to them.
“There’s not enough funding for social workers or to get people to go to schools and give talks on these diseases.
“People need to be aware that every action has consequences and can come back and bite you.”
The patient has recently begun a course of medication to help him live with the disease after having to go to hospital four times last year, and says it is having a big impact on his life.
He said: “It is difficult to find work. If you’re not feeling well you need to take time off work but you can’t do that in this climate.”
Following World Aids Day on December 1, the Bucks Primary Care Trust will be tweeting a fact a day about HIV. The patient will also be tweeting throughout the month, giving a real-time and real-life account of what it is like to live with HIV on a daily basis. The campaign can be followed @NHSBucks.