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People first: Life under stigma


World Aids Day

Did you know that people living with HIV still experience stigma and discrimination in our province?

According to the recent BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index research, 52% of participants had confronted stigma in the last year, and 30% reported that stigma or discrimination had caused them to avoid health care services. Stigma and discrimination also caused 24% of respondents to avoid using social services.

December 1, 2019 is World AIDS Day – an opportunity to recognize the achievements in HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment, show our support for people living with AIDS, and remember those people who have died from AIDS-related illnesses. This year, let’s talk about how we can reduce stigma and discrimination associated with HIV.

Negative stereotypes, or stigma, associated with HIV are rooted in fear, as well as lack of information and awareness about the virus. When we act on these negative stereotypes and treat people with HIV differently, we are exhibiting discrimination. We can help create a safer environment for people living with HIV by knowing the facts about the virus and utilizing inclusive and respectful language.

HIV can affect anyone. Those living with HIV are people first; they are children, siblings, parents, and friends. We need to treat them as such.