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The Nation

November 26, 1987

Stepped-up efforts to educate the public about AIDS have succeeded in creating overwhelming awareness of ways that health officials say the disease is actually spread, according to the Gallup Poll. But many Americans still cling to mistaken ideas about its transmission. When asked how AIDS can be spread, 97% cite the sharing of hypodermic needles, 95% homosexual relations; 88% heterosexual relations, and 86% receiving blood transfusions, the survey said. At the same time, about 25% hold notions that have been entirely discounted by health officials. Despite the lack of any evidence, 30% believe insect bites can transmit the disease; 29% say donating blood can cause contagion; 26% relate the spread to food handling or preparation, and 26% think it can be caught by sharing a drinking glass.

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