Curing HIV: What Do People Think?

The fight against AIDS can perhaps be distilled into a trio of persistent challenges. There’s the virus, of course. There’s the stigma that continues to surround HIV. And there’s complacency. Or is there?

HIV seldom makes front-page news any more, the widespread availability of treatment in the U.S. means that Americans aren’t dying of AIDS in droves as they once were, and endless tales of crisis and calamity compete for our attention each day.

Do they think we already have a cure, or really need one? amfAR tried to get answers to these and other questions by commissioning an online survey conducted by The Harris Poll among over 2,000 U.S. adults at the end of September 2023. The results suggest that perhaps people think, and care, more than we expected.

Survey Method: This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of amfAR from September 28–October 2, 2023 among 2,053 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 2.7 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact

While there seems to be broad consensus on the need for research to find a cure, women over 55 (90%) are more likely to hold this view than those aged 18–34 (82%) or 35–44 (79%).

Women (75%) are significantly more likely than men (67%) to think so. Black (80%) and Hispanic Americans (76%) are more likely than White Americans (67%) to think HIV/AIDS is a serious problem.