April 2014

New Survey Finds HIV Ignorance Fosters Stigma

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A new survey from the National AIDS Trust (NAT) revealed that the general public continues to be largely ignorant of the advances in HIV/AIDS care and treatment made in the last 30 years. 

NAT found that one in five responders believed HIV is still a death sentence and that a person newly diagnosed with HIV would only survive for 10 years.

More than one third of responders thought people living with HIV were banned from working in schools, hospitals, and restaurants while nearly 26 percent believed it is illegal for someone living with HIV not to disclose his or her status.

In a statement about the findings Deborah Jack, CEO of NAT, said these misunderstandings about HIV/AIDS – how it’s treated and how it can be prevented – foster stigma and discrimination toward people living with HIV.

“Misunderstanding and fear about HIV is not only damaging to those living with the virus, but makes people reluctant to get tested,” Jack said. “In the absence of public awareness campaigns or compulsory sex education it is up to individuals to educate themselves and those around them about HIV.”

At the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) we are dedicated to working until no child has AIDS. But we also want to create a world where people living with HIV are welcomed in their communities, and not discriminated against because of their status.

Many of our programs offer community health days to inform the general population about HIV/AIDS care and treatment. They also offer counseling and support for people living with HIV so that they can develop a sense of community.

Together we can end AIDS in children. Together we can fight stigma and discrimination. But it starts with education.

Check out our HIV 101 series to learn the basics of HIV/AIDS care and treatment.