Americans Support Prevention Programs and Access to Medicines to Address the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Most Americans (58 percent) believe the global HIV/AIDS epidemic is "worse" today than it was five years ago, according to the results of a new Harris Interactive® poll of 2,169 U.S. adults conducted online between July 20 and 22, 2004 for The Wall Street Journal Online's health industry edition.

Most adults also believe that more could be done by both the public and private sectors to provide HIV/AIDS patients with access to medicines.

* More than eight in 10 adults (85 percent) agree that, "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should do more to get new treatments for HIV/AIDS to the market quickly" (55 percent agree strongly with this statement).

* Three in four adults (74 percent) agree that, "The U.S. government needs to do more to provide developing nations with access to affordable drugs, including generics, for the treatment of HIV/AIDS" (42 percent agree strongly with this statement).

* Only three in 10 adults (30 percent) agree that, "Drug companies are doing all they can to provide HIV/AIDS drugs to the communities and patients who need them most" (26 percent disagree strongly with this statement).

The American public also believes in global prevention programs. Eight in 10 (79 percent) agree that, "The best way to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS is with preventative programs such as sex education, condom  distribution and the distribution of clean needles to intravenous drug users" (48 percent agree strongly with this statement).

If the American public were in charge of government spending on the global prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS they would distribute funds across a variety of programs, but their major focus would be on prevention and the care of children orphaned by the disease; on average, these two programs would account for 34 percent and 27 percent of funding, respectively. On average, the American public would spend 24 percent of funds on treatment of the disease and 14 percent for end-of-life care for AIDS patients.

"The American public is concerned about both the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS globally and they firmly believe that both the public and private sectors should be doing more to provide treatment to HIV/AIDS patients outside the United States," says Katherine Binns, senior vice president of healthcare at Harris Interactive.

TABLE 1

HIV/AIDS: A WORSENING GLOBAL EPIDEMIC

"Based on what you know or have heard, do you think the global HIV/AIDS epidemic has gotten better, worse or stayed about same compared to five years ago?"

Base: All Adults                       

 

Gotten better                            8 percent

Gotten worse                           58 percent

Stayed about the same          24 percent

Not sure                                   10 percent

 

TABLE 2

PUBLIC PREFERENCES FOR U.S. SPENDING

 

"U.S. spending for the global prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS focuses on four areas: prevention; treatment; end-of-life care for AIDS patients, and children who have been orphaned by the disease. If you were in charge and you had $100 to distribute between these programs, how would you spend them?"

Base: All Adults

Portion of $100 That Would Spend On:

(Mean)

Prevention 34.5

Treatment 23.8

End-of-life care for AIDS patients 14.3

Children who have been orphaned by the disease 27.4

 

TABLE 3

PUBLIC ATTITUDES TOWARD GLOBAL PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF HIV/AIDS

"To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?"

Base: All Adults

The best way to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS is with preventative programs such as sex education, condom distribution and the distribution of clean needles to intravenous drug users.

Agree Strongly: 48 percent

Agree Somewhat: 31 percent

Disagree Somewhat: 9 percent

Disagree Strongly: 6 percent

Not Sure: 6 percent

 

The U.S. government needs to do more to provide developing nations with access to affordable drugs, including generics, for the treatment of HIV/AIDS.

Agree Strongly: 42 percent

Agree Somewhat: 32 percent

Disagree Somewhat: 13 percent

Disagree Strongly: 7 percent

Not Sure: 6 percent

Drug companies are doing all they can to provide HIV/AIDS drugs to the communities and patients who need them most.

Agree Strongly: 7 percent

Agree Somewhat: 23 percent

Disagree Somewhat: 33 percent

Disagree Strongly: 26 percent

Not Sure: 12 percent

 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should do more to get new treatments for HIV/AIDS to the market quickly.

Agree Strongly: 55 percent

Agree Somewhat: 30 percent

Disagree Somewhat: 5 percent

Disagree Strongly: 3 percent

Not Sure: 6 percent

Note: Numbers may not add up to 100 percent due to rounding.

Methodology

This study was conducted online within the United States between July 20 and 22, 2004 among a nationwide cross section of 2,169 adults. Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a sampling error of plus or minus 3.0 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult population had been polled with complete accuracy. Unfortunately, there are several other possible sources of error in all polls or surveys that are probably more serious than theoretical calculations of sampling error. They include refusals to be interviewed (nonresponse), question wording and question order, and weighting. It is impossible to quantify the errors that may result from these factors. This online sample was not a probability sample. These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

Source: Harris Interactive

 

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