Discrimination Against People with HIV And AIDS

It is against the law and dangerous to the public's health to discriminate against those who have HIV/AIDS or anyone else who is deemed to be at risk of getting the disease. Regardless of the circumstances leading up to their infection, every person living with HIV/AIDS deserves sympathy and care. To spread this message, education is essential.

Although there has been significant progress in our understanding of HIV and AIDS, prejudice towards those who have the disease is still pervasive. It is now possible to live with the disease, just like individuals do with other chronic illnesses, thanks to scientific advancements. The stigma that goes along with the illness, however, continues to be the biggest obstacle for many people.

What is Discrimination

Discrimination refers to the actions brought on by stigmatizing attitudes or beliefs. HIV discrimination, likewise, refers the practice of ostracizing or not allowing to enter in a social gathering.

Here are a few Examples −

  • A medical professional declining to treat or assist an HIV-positive patient

  • Avoiding casual contact with an HIV-positive person

  • A community member becoming socially isolated because they have HIV

  • Using terms like "HIVers" or "Positives"

What Are the Effects of HIV Stigma and Discrimination?

People living with HIV experience emotional distress and mental illness as a result of HIV stigma and prejudice. These people more often internalize the stigma they encounter and start to form a poor opinion of themselves. They could worry that if their HIV status is known, they'll face prejudice, be treated poorly, or even ostracized.

When someone internalizes negative notions and prejudices about persons living with HIV and begins to apply them to themselves, this is referred to as "self-stigma" or "internalized stigma." Internalized HIV stigma can cause feelings of guilt, disclosure anxiety, loneliness, and hopelessness. People may hesitate to get tested and receive HIV treatment due to these emotions.

Violence Against People Living With HIV

Many people are prevented from getting tested for HIV by aggressive or threatening discrimination, which does nothing to help the infection be cured. An important barrier to the treatment of AIDS patients is violence. Because they are afraid of being harmed, people with HIV, especially women, often find it difficult to disclose to their partners that they have HIV. As a result, they are unable to receive financial assistance for testing, treatment, and other services from family members and medical professionals.

Out of 500 participants in a study on people living with HIV in South Africa, 16.1% experienced physical assault, with intimate relationships, including spouses and partners, accounting for 57.7% of those incidents. According to the information that is currently available, a substantial percentage of participants delay seeking medical attention at clinics or hospitals due to growing internalized worries.

Taking Action to Overcome Discrimination

You can take a variety of steps to lessen the discrimination and stigma you might experience −

  • Educate Yourself and Others − Discrimination against HIV-positive people frequently stems from ignorance of the virus's transmission mechanisms. To locate community-based organizations that offer HIV/AIDS education, counseling, and testing, get in touch with your local public health authority.

  • Know Your Rights − People with disabilities, including those who are HIV-positive, are protected from discrimination by federal law. Your rights are protected by laws like the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on the job, in housing, and in other situations. For example, the ADA compels employers to accommodate the needs of workers with impairments such as HIV/AIDS as long as they can still complete the required activities of their employment.

  • Become An Advocate − Promoting policy changes that would allow persons with HIV to receive the care, housing, and respect they require is among the most effective strategies to combat prejudice.

  • Consider Being Open with Those You Can Trust − To whom you disclose your HIV status is entirely up to you. Not all of your close friends and family must be aware. Consider who can offer you the comfort and support you require. The ability to confide in someone you trust and receive the assistance you need will be a huge relief, even though talking about it could be unpleasant. It's also a good idea to keep in mind that you have no control over other people's preconceptions; be ready for them, at least initially.

  • Seek Support − According to studies, lonely individuals are more likely to feel stigmatised than those with strong social networks. To find HIV support groups in your area, get in touch with your local public health authority if you feel uncomfortable seeking solace from friends and relatives. If you already have a close circle of friends, think about volunteering to help other HIV-positive people.


Discrimination goes against the core principles of humanity and contemporary society. Such inhuman discrimination is also threat to democracy, which is dependent on the notion of a society in which arbitrary hierarchies and preferences based on things like gender, ethnic origin, and income have been eradicated with the goal of reaching equality. Human rights are based on the principle that all people have inherent worth and equal rights and that equality forbids discrimination.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is social discrimination?

Ans. Social discrimination is described as ongoing inequity between people on the basis of their physical or mental condition, their religion, their sexual orientation, or any other aspect of their diversity.

Q2. Why is there age discrimination?

Ans. The idea that ageing negatively affects a person's physical and mental capacity and that younger individuals are therefore more capable is what drives age discrimination against older people.

Q3. Why is it important to challenge discrimination?

Ans. Fighting discrimination can help bring about change. For instance, it is critical to defending those who feel they have been treated unfairly because of their gender or sexual orientation and, if necessary, to take legal action to ensure that this never occurs again.

Q4. Can an HIV-positive person get a government job?

Ans. According to the Centre, such a practice amounts to discrimination and forces patients to conceal the illness, making it challenging to control. The Centre has informed the Supreme Court that there is no requirement for an HIV test in order to apply for a government job.

Q5. How do gender roles affect society?

Ans. Women and girls frequently have to limit their responsibilities to those of mothers, wives, and carers. Gender norms place girls in caretaking roles, which causes gender inequity in the division of household roles. As a result of the limited outside options, this also leads to a lack of education.

Updated on: 09-May-2023


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