Stigma And Discrimination Towards People With HIV

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In the world, equality and fairness embody the morals within today’s society. Under the “unalienable rights” of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, one bears the absolute privilege of equal opportunity. Nonetheless, the silent minority of people with HIV/AIDS remains suffering. HIV/AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Cast to the shadows for many years, about 36.7 million people worldwide live with the social stigma that comes along with HIV/AIDS (CDC, 2018). The HIV-1 pandemic is a complex mix of diverse epidemics within and between countries and regions of the world and is undoubtedly the defining public-health crisis of our time (NCBI, 2006). The discrimination experienced by those individuals affects their daily lives in places such as in the healthcare system, the workplace, and in public, no matter where they go they’re affected due to having this disease.

Countless human rights violations are being denied in healthcare settings, with one in eight people being denied health services because of stigma and discrimination (AVERT, 2018). For women living with HIV, the abuse of reproductive health services is inhumane. Throughout a six-country study in the Asia-Pacific region, 37.7% of women with HIV were subjected to involuntary sterilization (AVERT, 2018). In addition, 94% of urban health facilities in India display a willingness to prohibit women with HIV to conceive children at all (CDC, 2018). Violations not only physically transpire against those with HIV but inpatient confidentiality as well. According to respondents, 41% of healthcare professionals in the U.S have illegally disclosed patients’ HIV status to others, including family and hospital personnel (Leonard, 2005). The breach in a patient’s privacy deprives the trust the victim may have with their caregiver, resulting in victims not seeking treatment. Thirty percent of patients with HIV avoid appropriate care due to fear of disclosure or mistreatment, with one-third of them in fact having their status disclosed without consent (AVERT, 2018).

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Numerous employers perceive HIV/AIDS as a direct threat to the workplace. As a result, HIV-related stigma and discrimination are more present in unemployment or denial of work than that of sickness leave (Leonard, 2005). Over 50% of workers with HIV in Nigeria expressed to have lost their job due to the fact of being HIV positive (AVERT, 2018). Under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), one reserves the right not to disclose their HIV status to employers. However, in Iowa, individuals under the age of 18 must reveal HIV test results to their superiors (CDC, 2018). Essentially, minors are forced to jeopardize their career opportunities. About one in seven minors report to have been denied a job solely on the basis of their condition, therefore, securing a job becomes yet another obstacle in the course of living with HIV (CDC, 2018).

Community-level stigma and discrimination towards people with HIV cause a major change in their daily lives (AVERT, 2018). Within societies, women and girls fear rejection and stigma not only because of possibly losing their social standing but the loss of shelter and children. This social isolation stirs up depression, low self-esteem, and even thoughts of suicide (AVERT, 2018). The International Center for Research on Women reports that more than half of women in Bangladesh with HIV have experienced such stigma, and one in five express suicidal thoughts and actions (CDC, 2018). The Dominican Republic also reveals that six out of 10 women fear disclosing their HIV status due to stigma (CDC, 2018). The upright dignity human beings possess is deteriorated by the conclusion society has about HIV/AIDS.

In 2014 a survey was done in the United Kingdom about how people living with HIV should be treated. This survey states that two-thirds of those who did the survey would feel comfortable working with a person who has this disease. Also, two-thirds of the survey agree with the laws that protect these people with HIV from discrimination. In addition, eight out of every ten people believe that people with HIV deserve the same support and respect as those with any form of cancer.  


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