The stigma of living with HIV

AIDS stigma The stigma of living with HIV

World Day of the Fight against AIDS

GAYLES.TV.- Today, December 1, we commemorate the World Day of the Fight against AIDS. According to figures from UNAIDS, since the beginning of the pandemic it is estimated that some 80.000.000 of people contracted HIV infection and 40 million have died due to diseases related to the virus. The effectiveness of antiretroviral treatments, the intensive work carried out in the campaigns of prophylaxis together with research and new advances in methods such as PrEP and the increasingly feasible vaccine, have contributed to reduce the global figures of deaths and infections but they have not eradicated the virus or its consequences.stopsida

It is important not to lower our guard and continue to take security measures and to do check-ups, but we can not focus exclusively on the prevention of new infections and forget the situation in which people who have already contracted the virus live. That is why the organization STOPSIDA, who works from 1986 for the prevention of HIV / AIDS and other STIs, has issued a warning statement about the risk of stigmatizing those who have already been infected. Today we wanted to give this space to the dissemination of that statement without altering its content or its message. Part of the measures presented by STOPSIDA are related to the scope of the Generalitat de Catalunya but we have preferred to respect the integrity of the text given that they seem perfectly valid not only for the whole of the Spanish state but for any society that considers respect and integration of LGTBI people.


Currently for LGBT people, having HIV does not have the implications of years ago, but it continues to awaken feelings of fear, guilt and shame. Even today it is difficult - sometimes almost impossible - to talk about HIV in public, with friends, with family, with co-workers, etc. Even in many socio-health resources, the psychosocial and affective needs of people are not sufficiently affected, focusing attention on the ability to transmit the virus.  

Today we commemorate December 1 World Day to fight AIDS and from Stop AIDS we want to highlight the stigmatization of LGTB people living with HIV, and especially those who practice sex work.   

We start from the fact that in all social groups there is a discriminatory discourse that defines good and normality.

This devalues ​​and makes invisible, stigmatizes people who do not have those supposed characteristics of "normality" and good. In turn, some of these stigmatized people assume discriminatory speech as their own and common sense. Others do not accept it but may be socially excluded.  

In reference to HIV in LGBT people, the discourse that discriminates and stigmatizes:  

- Attempts against the solidarity and dignity of people.
- Attributes prejudices and stereotypes to people based on their serostatus, their sexual orientation / identity, their behavior and their decisions regarding preventive strategies.
- It qualifies the entire gay community as a transmission agent that must be controlled healthily and medicalized on a regular basis.  
- It hinders the implementation of prevention strategies and access to health resources.
- Exclude people with HIV from institutional prevention campaigns targeting gay and bisexual men.  

Stop Sida, as an LGTB community entity that addresses the promotion of sexual health, invites us to break this spiral of discrimination and stigmatization. How?:

- Developing the Law to guarantee the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people and to eradicate homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, creating a comprehensive care service, among other matters, aimed at promoting sexual health from and to the LGTB community.
- Facilitating empowerment tools and strategies from and for people living with HIV, as well as participation in socio-health policies that affect us.
- Eliminating barriers for the social and health care of people with HIV regardless of their administrative and legal situation.  
- Establishing a social pact against discrimination against people with HIV led by the Generalitat de Catalunya as established in the "National Agreement per a fer front to the epidemic of HIV in Catalonia and against the stigma relacionat".
- Promoting concrete measures against serophobia in the new "Pla d'acció in front of HIV / AIDS of the Health Department 2015-2018" (not yet completed)
- Promoting a "law against LGTBphobia" and an "Agreement to face the HIV epidemic" at a state level.
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