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Stigma and Discrimination Related to HIV/AIDS. Dr KANUPRIYA CHATURVEDI Dr S.K. CHATURVEDI. L esson Objectives. D efine and identify HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination Better understand international and national human right issues

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stigma and discrimination related to hiv aids

Stigma and Discrimination Related to HIV/AIDS



l esson objectives
Lesson Objectives
  • Define and identify HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination
  • Better understand international and national human right issues
  • Clarify personal values and attitudes with regard to HIV/AIDS prevention and care
  • Know how to address stigma and discrimination in the context of providing HIV services
  • The Microsoft Word Dictionary defines stigma as the shame or disgrace attached to something regarded as socially unacceptable. Sociologists have taken this a bit further. In a seminal study on stigma in 1963, stigma was defined as an attribute that is seen as deeply discrediting to a person or group (Goffmann). Those attributes could be an illness, physical deformity, aberrant behaviour or social group (based upon religion or ethnicity, etc.). Stigma lets people or groups see differences or "others" in a negative light while confirming their own sense of normalcy and decency.
  • Subsequent researchers have viewed this more as a social process that creates or perpetuates social inequities and which is used to legitimise discrimination. While this is generally true, stigma can also be a primal human response- particularly in the case of fearing a disease that is transmissible and potentially incurable.
stigma and discrimination
Stigma and discrimination
  • Stigma refers to unfavourableattitudes and beliefs directed toward someone or something
  • Discrimination is the treatment of an individual or group with partiality or prejudice
  • Stigmatization reflects an attitude
  • Discrimination is an act or behavior
root causes
Root Causes
  • 1.The role of knowledge about HIV and AIDS and fear surrounding it
    • Ogden and Nyblade believe that the fear of transmission from casual transmission, and the various "what if scenarios" are the result of 1) the lack of specific, in-depth information about HIV transmission, 2) fear-based public messaging, and 3) the evolving nature of knowledge about HIV and AIDS.
  • 2.The role of values, norms, and moral judgment
    • This stigma is exacerbated by the seriousness of the illness, its mysterious nature, and its association with behaviours that are either illegal or socially sensitive (e.g., sex, prostitution, and drug use). Also relevant is the perception that HIV infection is the product of personal choice: that one chooses to engage in "bad" behaviours that put one at risk and so it is "one's own fault" if HIV infection ensues."
expressions and forms of stigma
Expressions and forms of stigma
  • Ogden and Nyblade divide stigma into four loosely defined groups: physical, social, verbal and institutional.
    • Social stigma
    • Isolated from community
    • Voyeurism: any interest may be morbid curiosity or mockery rather than genuine concern
    • Loss of social role/identity: social `death`, loss of standing and respect
    • Physical stigma
    • Isolated, shunned, abandoned
    • Separate living space, eating utensils
    • Violence
forms of stigma contd
Forms of stigma (contd.)
  • Verbal stigma
  • Gossip, taunting, scolding
  • Labelling: in Africa: "moving skeleton," "walking corpse," and "keys to the mortuary." In Vietnam: "social evils," and "scum of society."
  • Institutionalised stigma
  • Barred from jobs, scholarships, visas
  • Denial of health services
  • Police harrassment (eg of sex workers, HIV-positive actvists in China, outreach workers in India)
  • HIV-related stigma is increasingly recognized as the single greatest challenge to slowing the spread of HIV/AIDS
  • HIV/AIDS – a threefold epidemic
    • HIV
    • AIDS
    • Stigma, discrimination, and denial
human rights
Human rights
  • Freedom from discrimination is a fundamental human right
  • Discrimination on the basis of HIV/AIDS status, actual or presumed, is prohibited by existing human rights standards
  • Discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), or those thought to be infected, is a clear human rights violation
effects of stigma
Effects of stigma
  • Social isolation
  • Limited rights and reduced access to services
  • HIV/AIDS related stigma fuels new HIV infections
  • Secondary stigma (stigma by association)
stigma in service delivery
Stigma in service delivery
  • Discourages access to ANC services
  • Prevents access to counselling , HIV testingand MTCT services
  • Discourages disclosure of HIV test results to partner(s)
  • Discourages acceptance of MTCT interventions
  • Inhibits use of safer infant-feeding practices
  • Confers secondary stigmatisation on the child
addressing stigma
Addressing stigma
  • Interventions addressing HIV-related stigma can take place at all levels:
    • National
    • Community and social/cultural
    • MTCT site/facility
    • Individual
national level interventions to address stigma
National Level Interventions to Address Stigma
    • Support
  • Human rights legislation
  • National efforts to scale up ARV treatment
  • Funding for PPTCT services, and training
    • Share
  • MTCT success stories
community level interventions
Community Level Interventions
  • In the community, promote
    • HIV awareness and knowledge
    • MTCT activities as integral to health care and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment
    • Referrals to and from MTCT services
    • Awareness of MTCT interventions
community level interventions contd
Community level interventions (contd.)


  • Partnership with schools, social and community organizations
  • PLWHA ( people living with HIV/AIDS) in implementing initiatives
  • Networking with needed linkages
  • Ongoing training
programme level interventions
Programme level interventions
  • Integrate MTCT into antenatal services
  • Encourage partner involvement
  • Enlist partner and family support to decrease HIV transmission
addressing stigma17
Addressing stigma
  • Educate and train healthcare providers in
    • HIV transmission
    • Activities to address stigma
    • Awareness of language that describes PLWHA
    • MTCT-related policies
    • Counselling and safer infant feeding practices
addressing stigma18
Addressing stigma

Enlist manager’s help to ensure policies and

procedures are in place and implemented for:

  • Non-discrimination policies
  • Confidentiality
  • Universal precautions
  • Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)
  • Stigmatisation reflects an attitude
  • Discrimination is an act or behaviour
  • Stigma and discrimination are often linked to violations of human rights
  • Human rights declarations affirm all peoples’ rights to be free from discrimination, including discrimination based on HIV/AIDS status.
  • HIV/AIDS-related stigmatisation and discrimination can discourage access to key HIV services, including:
    • Testing
    • MTCT services
    • Antenatal care
    • ARV prophylaxis
summary contd
Summary contd
  • Stigma discourages

-Disclosure of HIV status

-Acceptance of safer infant-feeding practices

-Access to education, counselling, and treatment even when such services are available and affordable

  • The MTCT programs and staff can help reduce stigma and discrimination in the healthcare setting, in the community, and at the national level
  • Encourage MTCT staff to serve as role models
  • Involve PLWHA
  • Promote partner participation and community support