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U.S. News

Massachusetts: Stigma of HIV Keeps Thousands Silent

August 14, 2012

Stigma keeps thousands of people with HIV from disclosing their status, fearing a loss of employment, friends or a significant other. And it keeps others from getting early testing and treatment, which can help prevent HIV's spread.

More than one in five Massachusetts residents with HIV report they "work hard" to keep their infection secret from everyone, according to a 2009 Harvard Law School's Health Law and Policy Clinic study. Nearly half of the 284 people with HIV surveyed had not disclosed their HIV status to anyone outside the immediate family. About 30 percent reported recent poor treatment by health care providers or stigma from doctors and support staff. Some reported unwanted disclosure of their HIV status.

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