started this petition to
The Global Health and Development Community
In this, the 4th decade of the HIV and AIDS epidemic, the virus persists stubbornly in spite of efforts to tackle it.
Over its lifespan it has changed dramatically, but it has remained a profound and intractable challenge to humanity. This is due in large part to stigma, prejudice, and certain legal measures against particular populations. These experiences create enormous barriers to reaching the most affected populations with prevention, treatment and support. They undermine the fundamental rights of individuals.
A critically overlooked element is self-stigma. Internalized/self-stigma are self-disabling inner feelings of contamination, shame, self-rejection and self-loathing experienced by people with HIV, and those who fear they have HIV, even when there is no objective reason to fear rejection or discrimination, and even when there is good objective reason to believe that they will receive external support, protection, treatment and acceptance (Cameron, 2012).
Self-stigma limits the ability of individuals to live positively with HIV. It affects women and men, rich and poor. It fosters fear, depression and isolation. It militates against disclosure. Self-stigma is a profound barrier to an effective global HIV response. Yet in the panoply of tools that have been developed for the global response, self-stigma is overlooked.
There is relatively little research on the topic and few methodologies to address it. This must change.
Posted: 21 March 2015 (Updated: 15 June 2015)