HIV AIDS Stigma and education

AIDS Discrimination and Stigma

AIDS Discrimination and Stigma

What’s Behind AIDS Discrimination and Stigma?

Many factors can lead to AIDS discrimination and stigma:

  • HIV is a deadly disease that many people fear.
  • Some adults in the U.S. still wrongly believe that they can catch HIV through casual contact, such as sharing a drinking glass or touching a toilet seat. This greatly increases their fear about being near people who are infected.
  • Many people connect HIV and AIDS with behaviors that are already stigmatized, such as sex between gay individuals or injecting drugs.
  • Some people believe that having HIV or AIDS is the person’s own fault. For example, they might think it’s the result of moral weakness and deserves to be punished.

Unfortunately, AIDS discrimination and stigma also fuels the epidemic. It prevents people from talking about their HIV status with sex partners or people with whom they share needles. Fear of rejection and worries about confidentiality also prevent many from getting tested for HIV. This means they may spread HIV to others without knowing it.