You Are Reading: The Realities About The Silent Claws Of HIV/AIDS Stigmatization
HIV/AIDS related stigma in health care settings poses a barrier to continuity of care and life-prolonging treatment.
All my life have I never dread any infectious disease like HIV/AIDS.
I used to tell my siblings at home that till death I will never go to the hospital to test for HIV/AIDS. I preferred dying early from it without knowing it than struggling to live for long with knowledge of my status. That was my resolution.
Never say never. It’s not even been up to a week I carried my two legs ready to pay any amount just to know my status. I changed my mind and became desperate to know my status is a story for another day.
Good news! I tested NEGATIVE.
I had never felt so relieved in my entire life. Please laugh if you wish. I couldn’t begin to figure out how I will cope with the trauma and isolation.
As a matter of fact, the stigmatization would have begun from me. I paused for a while after my result was handed to me by the Doctor.
My life was indeed to change should I be POSITIVE. What would I do? Many thoughts running through my head. Hmmmmmm I am Negative what is my problem again.
“It was a no to unprotected sex even in marriage, absolutely no contact with sharp objects and not an inch closer to any blood, be it human or animal”.
This time around the resolution was more serious.
Well, did you notice all this while it’s not just been fear of how to cope with the virus but fear of how people will handle with the situation?
HIV stigma refers to irrational or negative attitudes, behaviors, and judgments towards people living with or at risk of HIV.
It can negatively affect the health and well-being of people living with HIV by discouraging some individuals from knowing their HIV status, accessing treatment, or staying in care.
HIV stigma can also affect those at risk of HIV by discouraging them from seeking HIV prevention tools and testing, and from talking openly with their sex partners about safer sex options.
At worst, infected patients stigmatized themselves and die prematurely before the infection even kills them.
HIV stigma drives acts of discrimination in all sectors of society, including health care, education, the work place, the justice system, families, and communities.
Breaking down HIV stigma is a critical part of ending the HIV epidemic. Findings have proven that;
Stigma occurs at multiple levels, including the interpersonal, institutional (e.g., health facilities, schools, and workplaces), community, and legislative levels.
Manifestations of stigma take many forms, including isolation, ridicule, physical and verbal abuse, and denial of services and employment.
Experiences of stigma can differ by sex, reflecting broader gender inequalities. For example, women may be more likely to be blamed for bringing HIV into the household than men.
HIV-related stigma reinforces existing stigmas against marginalized groups (e.g., men who have sex with men [MSM], sex workers, and injection drug users)—often called “compounded” stigma.
Common stigma-reduction interventions have focused mainly on creating changes in individual knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors rather than broader social and environmental change.
There have been very few rigorous evaluations of stigma-reduction interventions in the developing world.
However, this stigma can be minimized while encouraging everyone to determine his or her status and giving hope to those already infected.
- Help institutions recognize stigma.
- Address social stigma and the environment.
- Respond to the needs of stigmatized populations.
- Use the media to show that AIDS has a human face.
- Involve people living with HIV in service delivery.
- Engage the community.
- Expand antiretroviral therapy (ART).
It is a difficult situation. Yes it is. We cannot deny it. However, we must put all hands on deck to eradicate if not completely the killer itself before the virus.
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You Were Reading: The Realities About The Silent Claws Of HIV/AIDS Stigmatization