HIV/AIDS stigma: The latest dirty secret

Year: 2003
Author: Stein, Joanne
Unit: ASRU
Journal: African Journal of AIDS Research
Volume: 2
Issue: 2
Pages: 95–101

The rejection of HIV/AIDS stigma is based on the understanding that all acts of social exclusion relating to HIV/AIDS are not only morally wrong but also counterproductive to effective HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. There is some survey evidence suggesting that HIV/AIDS stigma has already diminished substantially over time both in South Africa and worldwide. However, it is arguable that these surveys are failing to measure the changing face of stigma effectively. This paper describes some of the conceptual and methodological challenges that quantitative research measuring stigma needs to address. Foremost amongst these is the fact that HIV/AIDS stigma stems from multiple sources which cannot be conflated if stigma is to be properly identified, measured and most importantly, addressed.

Keywords: denial, discrimination, prevention, inequality