Public attitudes about AIDS have changed…for the worse. Results from a 1997 phone probe of 1,700 Americans found that finger-pointing AIDSphobia increased since a similar survey six years ago. “This is a fallout of re-education about AIDS,” said Dr. Gregory Herek of the University of California at Davis. “We stopped giving out messages about the safety of casual contact— instead we stress the need for prevention. So if someone gets HIV, it must be their responsibility.”

Percentage who believe that people who get HIV via sex or drugs get what they deserve:
1991: 20%   1997: 29%

Percentage who believe that one can get HIV from using the same drinking glass as a PWA:
1991:  48%   1997: 55%

Percentage who said that they’d be less likely to wear a sweater that had been worn one time by a PWA than if it had been worn once by another person—even if it had been cleaned and sealed in a new package so it looked brand new:
1997:  48%

Percentage who said that they’d feel uncomfortable drinking out of a glass in a restaurant if a PWA had used the same glass a few days earlier—even if it had been washed and sterilized:
1997: 28%