Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Health & Illness: Stigmatization of HIV/AIDS

By: Kandace Clark

The subject of HIV and AIDS is a sensitive subject people try to avoid. People affected with HIV/AIDS are often rejected by society because it is a life threatening disease that causes people to react strongly towards it. In all realty many disassociate themselves from those with HIV/AIDS, because of fear of "catching" it. These actions are the result of not being educated about the illness. HIV is a virus that is transmitted from person to person through the exchange of body fluids such as blood, semen, breast milk and vaginal secretions. Sexual contact is the most common way to spread HIV/AIDS, but it can also be transmitted by sharing needles when injecting drugs, or during childbirth. Despite this obtainable knowledge (practically everywhere) many in society continue to stigmatize HIV/AIDS because they believe the people affected caused it upon themselves. (personal irresponsibility) Also, HIV infection is associated with behaviors (such as homosexuality, drug addiction,  and prostitution) which are already stigmatized in many societies.

Below is a video, of a doctor making statements regarding HIV/AIDS discrimination.

Stigma and discrimination are enemies of public health. HIV/AIDS-related stigmatization and discrimination threaten the effectiveness of HIV prevention and care programs. They create negative impacts on effective prevention by discouraging individuals from coming forward for testing, and from seeking information on how to protect themselves and others,  deepening the adverse impact of living with HIV/AIDS.

Here is another video of someone voicing how stigma prevents people to open up about being HIV positive.

Acting harshly towards people affected with HIV/AID  is un-called for. Many people don't realize that their discrimination is causing people not to better themselves form this illness, and better yet not  protecting others from obtaining it. Knowledge is power. 8 out of 10 people are not aware of the causes of being diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, and that's sad to say because these are the ratio of people who operate in stigma, discrimination and hatred to those affected.


  1. Gabrielle Cecala.June 22, 2011 at 5:50 AM

    I agree with you a lot on this. Many people who have HIV & AIDS are severely criticized and stigmatized just for having the illness. People talk more than thy think. Knowledge IS power.

  2. I think that you hit this one right on the nose. People will always be judgmental to those that have HIV/AIDS and not really understand how it works. A person without the common knowledge of how its spread will always have a negative opinion of one that does have it. In the world that we live in today you should constantly protect yourself against diseases such as this. I'm sure that a person with the virus already feels a certain way about it and doesn't need the comments of a person that's oblivious to the matter.

  3. I will look at this from the way it is been treated in my country,people see this disease as self inpulse because they believe hanging around and having sexual intercouse are the onway you get this dicease.So people are even scare to for aids test because they do not want to be discriminated. The one that are aware of having it don't let people besause is like loosing all of your friends and family members.I agree 100 pencent with you that people should have a knowledge of how this disease spread .

  4. Darnetta O. MatthewsJune 22, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Very good blog Kandace, this is an issue that is very dear to me a very good friend of mine died from this disease. When he was diagnosed it really sadden me to see how he was treated by certain "friends" they often asked me questions like "aren't you afraid that you might catch it if he coughs on you"? or "you don't use the bathroom in his house do you"? I educated myself on the subject so I didn't allow their ignorance to interfere with me being there for my friend. That was over ten years ago. I agree with Will and you hit the nail right on the head. Education is definately the key and no matter what the circumstances we must learn to treat all people with dignity and respect. Living with it is bad enough than to be outcast makes it even worse.

  5. January JeffersonJune 22, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    I totally agree, education is the key to saving lives. Some people have all the education and still make bad choices. People living with the virus should also educate themselves on how to stay alive and live a happy life because it's possible.

  6. I agree education is extremely important, but as stated above even with knowledge people sometimes still make bad choices thinking it couldn't happen to them. Its sad because the population of women with HIV and AIDS is increasing. That increase is not always due to their own recklessness, but rather trusting their partners who unknowing or sometimes knowingly infect the women in their lives.

  7. Katherine PeraltaJune 28, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    Kandace, I agree that peopl shouldn't discriminate others who have this disease and that education is the key to success to learn about diseases, just for everyones sake. No one with a disease should be treated differently; instead these people should be helped and cared for. Nicely done!