Stigma Deters HIV-Positive People From Seeking Treatment, Panelist Says at Arkansas HIV/AIDS Minority Task Force Meeting
September 10, 2008
The stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS in the Arkansas Delta prevents people living with the disease from coming forward and makes it difficult for the state to help the population, a University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences researcher told the Arkansas HIV/AIDS Minority Task Force earlier this week, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports. Katharine Stewart of UAMS' College of Public Health told the task force that there is a high level of stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS in the black community, adding that community leaders need to become involved in the fight against the disease. She added that sexually transmitted infections and HIV cases are disproportionately higher among blacks compared with whites, with HIV/AIDS rates among blacks throughout Arkansas recorded at levels five times higher than those among whites. Stewart also said that people living with HIV/AIDS and other STIs often are low-income drug users who do not use condoms. In addition, some women living in poverty engage in commercial sex work and do not have the power to negotiate condom use, Stewart said.
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.