HIV/AIDS and Stigma
Twenty-five years into the HIV-AIDS epidemic:
- 37 percent of Americans mistakenly think they can get HIV from kissing.
- 22 percent erroneously believe they can get the virus by sharing a drinking glass.
- 16 percent wrongly think HIV is spread by touching a toilet seat.
- 55 percent don’t know a pregnant woman with HIV can take drugs to prevent transmission of the virus to her baby.
- 48 percent said they would not be comfortable having a roommate who is HIV-positive.
- 29 percent would not be comfortable working with someone who has HIV or AIDS.
To prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and get HIV-positive people the treatment they need, we must eliminate the stigma associated with the disease. Often HIV/AIDS is viewed as a shameful disease and a disease contracted only by men who have sex with men. Because of this perspective, for the last 25 years people have believed that HIV/AIDS is a disease that does not and can not affect them. In reality, HIV/AIDS is a disease that does not discriminate against age, race, gender, or ethnicity. Since 1981 the epidemic has killed more than 25 million people worldwide. It is time we stop the disease. Communities must work together to eliminate stigma, get tested, and get people the treatment they need.
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