Discrimination is real and still present in this day and age despite all the progress we’ve made as a society. One group that is often discriminated against is those living with HIV. Those living with HIV have to deal with HIV stigma on a daily basis because people don’t understand them or not educated on the improvements within the HIV healthcare. These people are stigmatized and marked by society as being “different” and are in turn blamed for that difference, making people afraid of what they don’t understand.
When someone hears that a person is HIV positive, they automatically conjure up images of someone who is dying, sickly and can infect other people. Despite all the information available out there on HIV, people still reject those who live with HIV, often insulting, gossiping or excluding them from society. Because people are stigmatizing those who are HIV positive, people with the infection are scared and nervous about alerting others of their condition. They instead avoid contact with others and can often times suffer in complete and utter silence because they’re too afraid to speak up about it. Because of this fear, they don’t get the help they need.
But that’s not all HIV stigma brings to this community. Those who are HIV positive can also believe the hype surrounding the infection and think that what others say about it are true. They might start internalizing others beliefs that it’s a death sentence or that it’s the result of being irresponsible. This then leads to a person feeling even more isolated and alone and seeing themselves in a negative light at such a sensitive time of their life. Instead of being positive and going out to find information on their own, they start to believe that they are immoral because of how society sees those with HIV.
HIV stigma is causing those living with the infection to have self-doubt and is causing society to marginalize them. Because of the stigmas surrounding HIV, those individuals living with HIV are not being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve as human beings.