Alongside these alarming and intimidating statistics exacerbated by poverty and poor healthcare infrastructure factors, this helpless populace undergoes stigmatization and discrimination in their motherland. The United Nations AIDS Programme stipulates that HIV/AIDS correlated to stigma and discrimination as a method of devaluation to humanities living with HIV/AIDS. Subsequent stigma, unjust or prejudicial treatment of persons on certain or perceived HIV statuses (Nyblade et al., 2009, p.2). The individuals who encounter these models of stigma and discrimination suffer social marginalization even though they’ve been subjected to inequalities and biases in their neighbourhoods (Nyblade et al., 2009).
Barely by concentrating on the learning resources for this unit as well as my understanding of hospital environs, I am going to exchange with my peers the stigma and discrimination that HIV/AIDS positive individuals undergo in my motherland. This is attributed in respect to the fact that the wider public still connects HIV positive test results with a death sentence as a result of commercial sex and an absence of adequate sex awareness, this group of people is stigmatized and discriminated against.
In contrast to very few African states like Tanzania, where HIV positive and AIDS patients have been actively involved in community outreach programmes to heighten awareness about the pandemic, yet, the disease remains linked with deeply rooted myths and taboos in my community. The infected ones, do not reveal or present themselves for testing and counselling due to the stigma surrounding the disease since they are “afraid of being correlated with something thought to be disgraceful.” As a consequence, they do not obtain the fundamental medical and psychosocial aid (Hood, 2017, sec. 2). This susceptible category consists of men and women, homosexuals and heterosexuals, kids and adults who’ve become socially disconnected from society solely as a result of their HIV/AIDS statuses (Hood, 2017).
To commence with, HIV positive and AIDS patients experience stigma and discrimination in their neighbourhoods, in which they are viewed as victims of their own morally reprehensible and unethical conduct. Living with HIV is deemed as a penalty for a person’s poor lifestyle choices by several people throughout communities. Persons exposed to the virus are referred to as ‘positives’ or ‘Seropositives.’ Furthermore, stigma and discrimination occur in healthcare institutions, where some less competent and skilled health professionals deny delivering care or services to HIV-positive individuals for concern of contamination through physical contact.
The other barrier is the significant cost of receiving care or treatment. In the absence of state assistance for HIV patients, they are forced to bear the financial obligation of paying for laboratory tests, medications, and other incurred costs. People who are unable to afford the expenses are denied satisfactory healthcare services and are compelled to bank on traditional healers and religious practices with the hope of recovering from the illness.
The prospective health consequences of this stigmatization and discrimination could have been that HIV/AIDS patients’ life expectancy is vastly reduced, with the majority of people believing that it’s tough to survive a happy and fulfilling life with the condition. Furthermore, because of minimal HIV experience and understanding and a flawed healthcare system, it is difficult to concentrate on stigma decrement at the community level whilst still providing HIV education to patients, their family members, and health care workers. In respect to Crinson and Martino (2017) who recommends handling stigma through modifications in legislation, education, language, public recognition, and treatment would benefit not only HIV individuals but also the social systems. This would eventually minimize the effects of stigma in the population and this would effectively relieve impediments to seeking early treatment hence positive outcomes (Crinson and Martino 2017).
What are some measures the concerned governing systems implement to ensure stigma and discrimination against the people infected with HIV/AIDS is curtailed?
World Council of Churches. (2021). Chapter 5 human rights, responsibilities and HIV/aids. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from https://www.oikoumene.org/resources/documents/chapter-5-human-rights-responsibilities-and-hiv/aids
WHO. (2018). HIV/AIDS in Africa. Retrieved 30 November 2020, from https://www.afro.who.int/health-topics/hivaids
Crinson, I., & Martino, L. (2017). Section 5. Stigma and how to tackle it. In Concepts of Health, Wellbeing and Illness, and the Aetiology of Illness. Accessed At: http://www.healthknowledge.org.uk/public-health-textbook/medical-sociology-policyeconomics/4a-concepts-health-illness/section3
Nyblade, L., Stangl, A., Weiss, E., & Ashburn, K. (2009). Combating HIV stigma in health care settings: what works? Journal of the International AIDS Society, 12, 15. https://doi.org/10.1186/1758-2652-12-15
Hood, L. (2017). HIV is still taboo in the DRC: chronicles from Kinshasa. https://theconversation.com/hiv-is-still-taboo-in-the-drc-chroniclesfrom-kinshasa-82931