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Stories of Stigma in Healthcare Setting

People living with HIV told us that:

  • They lacked confidence in healthcare staff outside specialist HIV clinics and this leads to worry about the treatment and care they will receive.
  • They fear inappropriate disclosure of HIV status in healthcare settings.
  • They fear poor attitudes and inferior treatment due to (unnecessary) fear of HIV transmission.
  • They report having negative experiences of health care and poor practice from staff as a result of the HIV status being known.

Here are some examples:

“They asked me ‘how did you get HIV’ had nothing to do with why I was there!”

“After they found out I had HIV they put another pair of gloves on top of the ones they already had on.”

“It was an open ward and I could hear the nurse talking about ‘the HIV patient’ in bed six!”

“When you experience stigma it knocks your feel like you did when you were first diagnosed.”

“You just get The Look. An immediate judgement ... as if you did something wrong to deserve it.”

The Brownlee HIV patient forum suggested that drama might be an excellent way to reflect and validate HIV+ people’s lived experiences. In collaboration with Scottish Youth Theatre short dramatic scenes were developed by a BAFTA award wining writer and the Brownlee Centre patients.

Go to our Stigma Videos page.

Last Updated: 07 September 2015