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The stigma associated with HIV-AIDS

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George Maris

George Maris

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The stigma associated with HIV-AIDS has resulted in persons disassociating with the disease. This can be seen in increase in HIV and newly diagnosed AIDS cases. AIDS is a sign that HIV has gone undiagnosed because of lack of care. HIV testing is an important component to the prevention of HIV/AIDS. Education and awareness about HIV testing will result in lowering the statistics of newly diagnosed cases and preventing the spread of this disease. The stigma that's associated with HIV/AIDS needs to be broken down; these barriers that influence a person’s decision about HIV testing are the very catalyst that has given rise to this epidemic. The focus of implementing a strategy to reduce this stigma will allow for educational and prevention programs to increase HIV testing. Awareness through media campaigns and outreach programs will help in developing this goal. Other concerns are people who are living with HIV and are not in care because of the fear of prejudice and discrimination. Children are afraid to disclose their HIV status to their loved ones, professionals who are afraid of losing their positions in society and community leaders who lose respect because of this surrounding stigma. A campaign during the 1980's recognized the effects stigma has on ones health entitled Silence equals Death. It was recognized that people were ignoring the obvious about the importance of HIV prevention and health issues regarding treatment. Today we know that there are medications that help prevent the disease from escalating into full blown AIDS and keeping people healthier longer. However there is a large population of people who still believe HIV does not affect them because of lack of knowledge. A media campaign will help reach people in understanding the importance of HIV testing. The target population includes those people who are at risk and persons who have misconceptions of HIV transmission.

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