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AIDS: Survey Reveals 'One-Third of Adults Admit Ignorance'

President of World Vision in the United States urges world leaders to 'put a face on the pandemic.'

December 2007

"Orphans and vulnerable children are the 'echo boom' of the pandemic, and much more must be done to protect them from exploitation and provide opportunities for the future," says Richard Stearns, World Vision's U.S. president.
© 2007/World Vision

More than 25 years after HIV was recognized by health officials, one-third of respondents in the world's seven wealthiest nations admit they know little or nothing about the global HIV and AIDS pandemic, according to a survey released by World Vision. One-fourth of respondents believe the problem is 'greatly exaggerated.'

"This survey reconfirms what all of us on the front lines of the AIDS battle know," said Richard Stearns, president of World Vision in the United States. "Leaders must put a face on the pandemic because, for people to take action, AIDS must affect them in a personal way."

Knowledge Leads to Compassion

"While some of these survey results present daunting challenges, we can be encouraged with the finding that the more people know about AIDS, the more compassionate they are toward those directly affected by it," Stearns added.

Sam McGuire, senior vice president of Ipsos Public Affairs, echoed Stearns' message of optimism.

"The fact that nine out of 10 across all seven nations agree on this issue of a moral obligation is extraordinary," said McGuire. "These are extremely high levels, and it shows that we must continue striving to find a solution."

Survey Results

Conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs,* the survey reveals:

  • 80 percent of respondents believe their governments should do much more to help children orphaned by AIDS and AIDS-related illnesses around the world;
  • 44 percent are willing to pay more in taxes to help fund prevention, treatment, research, and care;
  • 70 percent believe their governments should place a 'high priority' on AIDS education programs for children;
  • 90 percent of those surveyed believe there is a 'moral obligation' to help prevent people from being infected with the AIDS virus.
* Ipsos interviewed more than 3,000 people in seven nations — the margin of error is +/- 2 percent.

Canadians Most Empathetic

Stearns also noted that World Vision's 'Index of Concern' reveals Canadian citizens lead the seven nations surveyed — members of the G-8 — for having the highest level of empathy toward those affected by AIDS. (Russia, the eighth G-8 member, was not surveyed due to financial considerations.) Following Canada:

  1. France
  2. Germany
  3. United States
  1. Italy
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Japan
The World Vision Index of Concern is a proprietary index that combines into one measure six facets of concern about HIV and AIDS globally.

'Children ... Our Greatest Hope'

"AIDS is the greatest humanitarian disaster of our time — maybe of all time — and children represent our greatest hope in turning the tide against this deadly disease," Stearns said at a press conference following the release of the report.

"To the leaders of the seven governments whose citizens were surveyed, to the leaders of the UN and World Bank, to my NGO [nongovernmental organization] colleagues: When history judges us, we all will be asked: 'What did you do to help them and stop the calamity of AIDS?'"

Learn More

>> Read the full survey results, including the key findings and executive summary.

Four Ways You Can Help

>> Pray that greater knowledge about AIDS would lead to compassion from the Church and inspire decisive action among its members. Pray also for the millions of children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS and are left alone to care for themselves and their siblings.
>> Donate now to provide food and care to children affected by HIV and AIDS.
>> Speak out for AIDS-affected children. Add your name to our virtual Make Your Mark for Children petition to ask Congress to swiftly reauthorize the global AIDS bill and ensure that 10 percent of all global AIDS funds be used to care for orphans and vulnerable children.
>> Visit the World Vision Experience in a city near you.

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World Vision
Phone: 1-888-511-6548
P.O. Box 9716
Federal Way,WA 98063-9716
© 2014 World Vision Inc.
World Vision, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax deductible in full or in part.