What is HIV stigma?
Stigma is our shame and judgment about HIV. We feel ashamed and judge others. We might even reject them. Our beliefs shape the world we live in, making it harder to live with and fight HIV.
Why should you fight HIV stigma?
Stigma hurts you
We’re afraid to talk about HIV. We’re ashamed to talk about sex. We’re ashamed to ask for help. We suffer alone in silence because of stigma.
It hurts people living with HIV
If you have HIV, you’re afraid someone will find out. You might not see a doctor. You may live in fear of losing your job, home, or loved ones.
It hurts your community
We’re afraid to get tested for HIV. Over half of us have never been tested. Our silence makes us ignorant and scared. We don’t learn the facts.
We create HIV stigmaWe are all affected by HIV. You can stop HIV stigma by learning the facts, speaking up, and sharing our stories. Can you see yourself in this cycle?
- Our silence makes you misinformed.
- When you don’t understand how you get HIV, you become afraid of people living with it.
- When you are afraid, you shame and judge, excluding people from your community.
- If you are afraid of discrimination, you’ll also be afraid of talking about HIV.
- The cycle then repeats itself.
Our silence and fear causes new infectionsWould you get tested if it meant losing your friends and family? Getting tested can expose a secret like drug use or sexuality. If you test positive, your loved ones may fear you. Would you use a condom if it meant people thought you weren’t “clean”? You might avoid condoms if it makes your partner think you have HIV.
Would you get treatment if it meant facing judgment and discrimination? You might avoid going to the doctor or taking your medication because you’re afraid someone might find out you have HIV.