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What is HIV related Stigma and Discrimination?

We live in a time where HIV virus can be controlled. Effective treatment now means those living with HIV can have a normal life expectancy, plus reduce the chance of onward transmission. People living with HIV are living longer healthier lives and therefore attend a full range of NHS services not connected to their HIV status. However, poor knowledge around HIV and misconceptions surrounding exactly how the virus can be passed on still exists.

This means that HIV can evoke fears, prejudices and negative attitudes. As a result many people living with HIV experience stigma and discrimination. Unfortunately this has been reported as occurring within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde settings, when HIV +ve status has been disclosed and a member of staff has then reacted or treated that patient differently.

The experience of HIV related stigma and discrimination is detrimental to the health and wellbeing of those who experience it.

Stigma and discrimination includes:

  • Body language that is negative
  • Hearing staff discussing/disclosing HIV positive status with others without
    consent
  • Assumptions and or judgements being made
  • HIV +ve patients being moved to the end of lists
  • Care staff unnecessarily using double gloves for treatments