HIV Stigma

HIV stigma refers to the HIV-related shame, fear, prejudice, discrimination and guilt that exist in the gay community and the world at large. It affects the health and well-being of both HIV-positive and HIV-negative gay men.

But, what does HIV stigma look like?

HIV stigma is putting 'clean, ub2' or 'disease-free' in your online cruising profile.
HIV stigma is rejecting HIV-positive gay men when they disclose their HIV status but having sex with them when they don't.
HIV stigma is an attitude that HIV-positive gay guys are lazy when they do not work or are guilty or a failed person when they become infected with HIV.
HIV stigma is gossiping about the HIV status of gay men in the community and avoiding them based on the knowledge that they have HIV.

The Male Call Canada study (2013) revealed that:
  • 83% of poz guys were worried about being discriminated and stigmatized for HIV
  • 68% of poz guys were worried about being rejected because they were HIV positive
  • 52% of poz guys were worried about being charged for not disclosing their status
  • 49% of total sample agreed with the statement “I would not have sex with a man who is HIV-positive even if I am very attracted to him”
  • 4% of total sample felt that poz guys should be ‘quarantined’
HIV stigma is affecting the health of all gay men and is affecting our ability to prevent the transmission of HIV. Ask yourself what kind of community you want to live and play in…

Aside from increasing the risk of HIV transmission, HIV stigma fosters divisions within the gay community between HIV-positive and HIV-negative gay men, leading to further marginalization of gay men in our community. It has many negative impacts particularly on HIV-positive gay men, such as social isolation, shame, guilt, depression and other health issues.

Some HIV-negative gay guys experience a lot of anxiety because of their fear of HIV. It is hard to live your life in fear. It affects your relationships and it affects the quality of your sex life. Your fear of HIV can lead you to treat other gay guys, especially gay guys with HIV, poorly. Fear and anxiety, experienced over a long-time and many HIV tests, can lead to despair and indifference about HIV infection. You may be taking more risks because you are tired of living with fear and anxiety around HIV.

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The Male Call Canada study can be found here: 

#HIVCan #stigma #hurts #ouragenda #community #status


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