Standing Up to HIV-Related Stigma – A Shared Responsibility

Original Publishing date: 01-18-2019
Publisher: HelloClue
Author: Nicole Telfer, Science Content Producer; and Jen Bell, Former Writer at Clue


Stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS is persistent and it can negatively affect the health and well-being of people living with HIV and their caregivers. It discourages some individuals from learning their HIV status, accessing treatment, or staying in care.  This year, the theme being ‘Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility”, let’s promise to fight stigma and the discriminations caused by it.

Stigma comes from misinformation. Many people still believe in myths which date back to the emergence of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

Some popular myths as per the article are:

Myth : “HIV and AIDS are no longer an important issue”

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 36.9 million people around the world are HIV positive, with 1.8 million new infections in 2017 alone.

Myth : “I shouldn’t have sex with someone who has HIV”

That’s up to you : HIV positive people who consistently and properly take their ART medications can lower their viral loads so much that it can reduce the chance of transmitting HIV to another person

Myth : “HIV and AIDS are always associated with death”

With advances in treatment and preventive care, rates of HIV infection, AIDS, and related deaths are decreasing overall. There is no cure for HIV, but improved medications are helping more people to live longer.

Myth : “HIV only affects certain groups of people”

HIV doesn’t discriminate. People can contract HIV as babies during birth or breastfeeding, as well as through blood transfusions, sex, or sharing needles.

Myth : “HIV can be transmitted via sneezing, toilet seats, or shaking hands”

HIV is transmitted through the exchange of certain types of bodily fluids including: blood, semen, breast milk, and vaginal fluids.

How we can end stigma?

  1. Educate healthcare workers
  2. Protect the privacy of people who are HIV positive
  3. Remove travel restrictions
  4. Support people living with HIV to work through internalized stigma
  5. Improve the status of women
  6. Listen to people living with HIV
  7. Fight inequality and discrimination

To read the full article click here:’t-over-and-here-is-how-you-can-help

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