Stigma

Harvey Michele

Montreal, QC

HIV stigma and discrimination significantly impacts the health and well-being of people living with or at risk of HIV

HIV stigma often arises from fear, lack of knowledge, and existing prejudices against the groups of people most affected by the virus. These include gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, Indigenous Peoples, and people who inject drugs.

Stigma can stop people from talking openly about HIV with health care providers, and can make it harder to get tested regularly and know their status. It can also cause people living with HIV to feel uncomfortable disclosing their status to their partners, as their partners may react in a negatively.

Disease outbreaks are often accompanied by the re-emergence of harmful stereotypes and increased discrimination against equity-seeking populations. During COVID-19 and SARS, for example, Asian communities were often targets of racism and hate crimes. Countering and combatting harmful narratives that dehumanize groups of people is critical to counteracting stigma.

Muluba Habanyama 

Toronto, ON

Learn more About stigma