The survey uncovered some unexpected attitudes and beliefs:
* 47 percent of African Americans, 26 percent of Hispanics, 13 percent of men who have sex with men, and 18 percent of the general population believe that an HIV vaccine already exists but is being kept a secret.
* Most subpopulation respondents ?78 percent of African Americans, 68 percent of men who have sex with men and 57 percent of Hispanics ?either do not know whether or incorrectly believe that the vaccines being tested can cause HIV infection. Only 24 percent of the general population responded comparably.
* Among men who have sex with men, 77 percent cited HIV/AIDS as the most urgent health problem. Only a small percentage of the other groups surveyed, however, agreed: 11 percent of Hispanics, 15 percent of the general population and 22 percent of African Americans.
* In general, women had less knowledge and awareness than men about HIV vaccine research.
* High percentages of each group felt it was important to personally support HIV vaccine research: 89 percent of both Hispanics and of men who have sex with men, 86 percent of African Americans and 73 percent of the general population. Nonetheless, many were reluctant to express strong support for friends or family members volunteering for HIV vaccine trials. Only 29 percent of the general population and 35 percent of African Americans said they would be extremely or very supportive. Hispanics and men who have sex with men were more inclined to be supportive: 46 percent and 68 percent, respectively.
The NIAID team also assessed trust in the U.S. government’s ability to protect HIV vaccine trial volunteers. While about half of three groups ?men who have sex with men (50 percent), African Americans (55 percent) and the general population (57 percent) ?said they could t