HIV AIDS Stigma and education

HIV & Community

How HIV/AIDS Affect Your Community

Too often HIV-Positive people suffer the Stigma of HIV/AIDS. On top of handling life altering news and new health challenges, they sometimes face rejection by family and friends when they need them the most. People with HIV/AIDS may be forced out of homes, lose their jobs or even become victims of violence.

This type of stigma and the fear of it fuel the HIV/AIDS epidemic. One in three HIV-Positive people in our area are not in care and the fear of rejection and confidentiality prevent many others from getting tested. In both situations these individuals may spread the HIV virus to others, many without knowing it. The results can be… well…VIRAL.

The costs and consequences of HIV/AIDS are not carried by the individual alone…

A heavy economic cost is also laid on the community because stigma and ignorance assist the disease to continue to spread. A 2006 study published online in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS) showed that the economic cost of HIV/AIDS is far greater than previously estimated. The study revealed that 80% of the nearly $34.6 million lifetime cost of Americans newly diagnosed with HIV is related to productivity losses. Not included in this study are the additional costs sustained by an employer when an employee becomes ill and ultimately leaves the workforce due to HIV/AIDS. The employer incurs costs such as benefits paid, plus the expenses incurred hiring and training a new worker.

The cost of caring for a person who leaves the workforce is passed on to the community. The taxpayer ultimately pays the bills for indigent and low income health care, housing, food and other support services through their property, sales and income taxes.  Health care alone carries an annual per person cost that ranges in the tens of thousands of dollars, not hard to believe when the monthly drug costs average between $2,000 & $5,000.

These are only the monetary burdens placed on the community…

How to Stop the Cycle of Stigma and Infection in Your Community
  • Learn more about HIV/AIDS so you can respond with compassion and not fear
  • Speak Out Loud… Work to end fear, stigma and discrimination by educating others. Talk about HIV, how it is spread and how it is treated
  • Learn about HIV Prevention, practice it and take part in prevention efforts
  • Welcome people with HIV/AIDS, their families, friends and caregivers into your daily life and activities