Stigma and Discrimination

According to AVERT:

AIDS-related stigma refers to the prejudice and discrimination directed at people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), and the groups and communities that they are associated with. It can result in people living with HIV and AIDS being rejected from their community, shunned, discriminated against or even physically hurt.

AIDS stigma and discrimination have been seen all over the world, although they manifests themselves differently between countries, communities, religious groups and individuals. They are often seen alongside other forms of stigma and discrimination, such as racism, homophobia or misogyny and can be associated with behaviours often considered socially unacceptable such as prostitution or drug use.

Stigma directed at PLWHA not only makes it more difficult for people trying to come to terms with and manage their illness on a personal level, but it also interferes with attempts to fight the AIDS epidemic as a whole. On a national level, the stigma associated with HIV can deter governments from taking fast, effective action against the epidemic, whilst on a personal level it can make individuals reluctant to access HIV testing, treatment and care.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon says:

"Stigma remains the single most important barrier to public action. It is a main reason why too many people are afraid to see a doctor to determine whether they have the disease, or to seek treatment if so. It helps make AIDS the silent killer, because people fear the social disgrace of speaking about it, or taking easily available precautions. Stigma is a chief reason why the AIDS epidemic continues to devastate societies around the world" - 1

Read more on the AVERT website....

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