Alabama: Silence, Stigma Still Mark HIV
April 21, 2009
HIV-related stigma drives many people to keep their serostatus secret and feel ashamed, and this seems especially true in the black community, according to a recent study by Susan W. Gaskins, a professor at the University of Alabama's Capstone College of Nursing, and Dr. Pamela Payne Foster.
I don't think we'll ever be able to get rid of the stigma until people talk about HIV as a disease rather than some moral problem," said Kathie Hiers, CEO of AIDS Alabama. Upon hearing someone disclose they are HIV-positive, many want to know how the person got the virus, she said. "We need to get to the point where that's not the first question that pops into everybody's mind."
Still, Hiers believes HIV stigma has diminished somewhat. "We have more clients now that are willing to talk to people than I've ever had before," she said. Now when HIV/AIDS policy issues are on the Legislature's agenda, up to 200 people living with the disease are willing to travel to the state Capitol to lobby "a far cry" from the situation 12-13 years ago, she said.
04.16.2009; Dave Parks
Less Than a Year After CDC Announced The U.S. HIV Epidemic Is Much Larger Than Previously Thought, Public's Sense of Urgency Is Down, Even Among Some Higher Risk Groups