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HIV Stigma
Oct 16, 2015

I am writting from South Africa. Why is the stigma against HIV infected people so high. Since I got infected with the virus I read almost every material on HIV but am afraid to share the information that I gain from reading.

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for posting from South Africa.

Stigma, discrimination and criminalization are critical barriers to HIV testing, care and treatment. The roots of stigma are often deeply seated in culture, ignorance and taboo. Know that many are working very hard to improve HIV-related stigma and false criminalization. The UNAIDS programme has excellent background materials on the subject. Ending or reducing stigma is a key component of global targets for 2020 and 2030. You might also take a look at our recently released IAPAC Guidelines for Optimizing the HIV Care Continuum. In there, you'll see specific recommendations to reduce stigma and criminalization.

For now, I'd suggest to continue to learn about the virus, prevention and treatment; if and when it feels right, reach out to organizations in your community that work on HIV. I'm pretty sure that you'll find a safe environment to share your ideas; perhaps to make a difference in your community.

Be well; write back anytime. BY

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