22 January 2012

HIV/AIDS -Related Stigma and Discrimination

A major cause of the rise in the number of HIV positive cases has been the stigma attached with it. Although a lot many facts have been revealed about HIV/AIDS, it is still considered a taboo. Due to this reason, people with HIV infection often have to face a number of discrimination both at work place, as well as the personal front.

Many of you might have watched the movie Philadelphia. Tom Hanks as the victim and Denzel Washington as the attorney fighting for his rights made it one of my favorite movies till date. It is one of the very few movies, which dared to touch a very sensitive topic, i.e. discrimination with HIV infected people.

But before we can actually move in the direction of eradicating discrimination on the basis of HIV infection, it would be better to understand the main reason why, such a kind of discrimination actually takes place.

The following are some of the main reasons, why HIV is considered to be such a stigma:

1. The first and foremost cause is that, HIV/AIDS is an incurable as well as life threatening disease. Due to this reason, HIV/AIDS is one of the most dreaded diseases. Most people do not wish to get in touch with an HIV infected person, simply because they do not want to get infected themselves.

2. Another reason for seeing HIV as a stigma is the fact, that, it is associated with a few activities like drug addiction and prostitution. These activities are generally considered immoral and so is it thought about the people who have been infected with this disease. Apart from that, HIV is also associated with homosexuality, which is also considered a taboo in many cultures.

3. Apart from this, a number of rumors associated with it, make HIV a highly stigmatized disease. In fact, rumors about HIV are a great problem, which have been instrumental in making it a stigma, as well as helping it spread across to a large number of vulnerable people all across the globe.

It needs to be understood here, that stigmatizing the disease, would not actually solve the problem. In fact, it further adds to the problem, by helping HIV/AIDS spread further.

A large number of people stay away from getting them tested for HIV infection, mainly due to the stigma associated with it. Many of these people are actually infected with HIV. Timely testing would not only help them improve their lifespan, but would also stop them from spreading the infection further.

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