There is a worldwide stigma associated with the HIV/AIDS virus. It is discriminated against in all areas of life and society. This paper will examine three critical areas of this discrimination, and describe the cause and effect of individual, family-level, community and institutional stigmas associated with this disease.
HIV/AIDS: Humanity Rears Its Ugly Head
Most , if not at all, basic human rights and freedom , laid down as the common standard of achievement for humanity more than 40 years ago have been challenged ,violated, or denied in the context of HIV/AIDS. Lentine (2000) determines that the virus has become synonymous with stigma, ostracism, repression and discrimination, as individuals affected by HIV/AIDS have been rejected by their families, their loved ones and their communities (See Table 1). The epidemic of fear, stigmatization and discrimination has undermined the ability of individual families and societies to protect themselves and provide support and reassurance to those infected.
Persons with HIV/AIDS face double jeopardy; they face death, and while they are fighting for their lives they are often denied access to all areas of life -from health care to housing, from education, to work, to travel. Where as most illnesses produce sympathy and support from family, friends, neighbors, persons with HIV/AIDS are frequently feared and shunned. Thus HIV/AIDS discrimination cutting across lines of race, gender, ethinicity and sexual orientation is a serious problem. It also causes considerable economic cost to the community, producing both individual distress and social disruption. HIV/AIDS related discrimination is becoming more extensive, more sophisticated and more strongly entrenched worldwide. It hinders the community's efforts to effectively and efficiently minimize the transmission of HIV/AIDS. Safeguarding the human rights of persons with HIV/AIDS is vital not only on ethical and legal grounds but for practical reasons. It is a necessity,