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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

Miscellaneous Articles on the Stigma of Infectious Diseases

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Main topics can be found within the left column; sub-topics and/or research reports can be found near the bottom of this page.  Thank you


"Among the findings and results of the study are the following:

Knowledge about STDs, HIV/AIDS and family planning is directly affected by exposure to adequate information. Misinformation, erroneous concepts and negative perspectives are important in the development of fears, rumors and taboos regarding STDs and HIV/AIDS. The influence of previous experience, gender and religion was also identified.

Stigmas and negative attitudes towards people with HIV/AIDS inhibit awareness of one's own risk.

The project resulted in the implementation of strategies for the strengthening and development of interventions in the area of IECC. "

—Qualitative Study on the Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Regarding STDs and HIV/AIDS with Focus Groups from the STDs and HIV/AIDS Prevention Pilot Project

Level of Hepatitis C knowledge

"Only 16% of the surgical residents knew that there was a vaccine for hepatitis A. Though 84% knew that there was no vaccine for hepatitis C, the majority (56%) were unaware that Hepatitis C Virus was a sexually transmitted disease and 82% did not know about the possibility of it being transmitted perinatally. Of all the subjects, 93% knew that Hepatitis C Virus could be transmitted through blood transfusion and 88% knew about its transmission through a needle-stick injury. As well, 65% did not know that Hepatitis C Virus is initially asymptomatic. Knowledge about the complications of Hepatitis C Virus was adequate. Most of the residents were unaware of the physical properties of the virus, i.e., what destroys it, thus they incorrectly estimated the seroconversion rates with exposure to patients. This finding correlates with another study.23 Overall, there were significant gaps in the knowledge of the hepatitis C virus transmission.


With regards to attitudes towards Hepatitis C Virus, 42% of the respondents said they would tell their patients about their own Hepatitis C Virus seropositivity and 64% of residents did not believe in interferon therapy. Of all the respondents, 40% were in a habit of reading medical literature at least once a week."

—Hepatitis C: Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices among Orthopedic trainee surgeons in Pakistan


Document Name & Link to Document Description

File Size /pdf


Around 22 million people have died from AIDS since the beginning of the epidemic and there are approximately 36 million people infected with HIV in the world today, of which about 70 percent live in Sub-Saharan Africa. Rates of newly acquired HIV infection are highest in the 15-19 age group, and the majority of infections in this group are girls. Concerted national and international efforts are therefore needed to prevent the spread of HIV, mitigate the effects of the epidemic and to break the silence that still continues to surround HIV in many countries.


A review of the Knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of university students concerning HIV/AIDS Research related to HIV/AIDS among university students has focused primarily on the assessment of knowledge, attitudes and behaviours and to a lesser extent, on the effectiveness of educational interventions. Ensuring the greatest success involves a multifaceted and coordinated effort which brings together faculty, administration, students, health education professionals and the external community of students 125 kb pdf

A Second Decade of Stigma: Public Reactions to AIDS in the United States, 1990-91

Throughout the 1980s, a second epidemic shadowed AIDS in the United States. Many people infected with HIV were socially isolated, fired from their jobs, driven from their homes, and even physically attacked. 'AIDS-related stigma'.   also posed threats to the physical and psychological well-being of those simply perceived to be at risk. Members of the gay and lesbian community, for example, appeared increasingly to be targets of hate crimes, many of which included references by the perpetrators to AIDS.2 In addition, AIDS-related stigma affected public support for government policies, and governmental support for AIDS-education programs.3 And it affected the willingness of individuals and entire communities at risk to acknowledge AIDS as a problem and to initiate prevention programs


A Woman Stoned

A woman was stoned to death because her neighbors thought they would get AIDS from her!  Though we have heard of such cases before, we never thought it would happen so near.


AIDS, Stigma and the Media There is an emerging global consensus among governments, international organizations and the private sector to focus more attention and resources on HIV/AIDS…Perhaps the most underutilized force for scaling up is the media, especially when it comes to reaching young people.  Media can also play a critical role in breaking the silence about HIV in countries with emerging epidemics and reluctant leaders. 414 kb pdf

An overview of HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination

All over the world, the epidemics of HIV and AIDS are having a profound impact, bringing out the best and the worst in people. They trigger the best when individuals group together in solidarity to combat government, community and individual denial, and to offer support and care to people living with HIV and AIDS. They bring out the worst when individuals are stigmatized and ostracized by their loved ones, their family and their communities, and discriminated against individually as well as institutionally.


Atlantic City-needle exchange program a proposal to implement the state's first needle-exchange program,  

Attacks on Science" The Risks to Evidence-Based Policy

As government agencies, academic centers, and researchers affiliated with them provide an increasing share of the science base for policy decisions, they are also subject to efforts to politicize or silence objective scientific research

115 kb pdf


HIV disease presents profound challenges to primary caregivers including adjusting to the care recipient's disease progression, having increasing responsibilities for decision making as the disease progresses, responding to unexpected improvement, having to deal with a virtually uncontrollable disease, and managing role conflict and fatigue. Caregivers who are themselves infected with HIV face additional challenges.


Changing the Stigma of and Levels of Awareness for Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS

"They deserve to die!" "How did he get it?" "Tom has AIDS, he must be gay." The terms HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis are now almost interchangeable with lifestyles being gay or being a user of IV drugs; if you are positive for AIDS, you must be gay; if you are positive for Hepatitis, you must have used IV drugs.


China Discrimination Fuels HIV/AIDS Crisis

Widespread discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS is fueling the spread of the epidemic in China, Human Rights Watch charged in a new report released today


Considerations on the Stigma of Mental Illness
Stigma, prejudice, and discrimination are closely related and 
tightly interwoven social constructs. These constructs affect 
many, based on age, religion, ethnic origin, or socio- economic status.


the paper focuses on different theoretical models that stigmatized individuals may use in order to cope with prejudice and compensate for their stigma. Empirical evidence and current research trends are reviewed with a view towards presenting not only what research has been conducted and how it is being interpreted, but also what questions are being raised and remain unanswered by current social science research.


Coping Mechanisms of the Stigmatized: Methods of Protecting Self-Worth A stigmatized person possesses and exhibits an attribute that conveys a devalued personal and social identity within a particular social context.  Stigmatized individuals are commonly the targets of stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination, face social rejection, and perceive considerable threat from the nonstigmatized or outgroup. 83 kb pdf
Coping with Stigma How should we deal with stigma and its impacts?  This question would probably seem absurd to an ancient Greek, about to brand someone with a visible mark to signify that this person was immoral or dangerous and thus undesirable, someone to be denigrated and avoided.  Stigmatization in ancient Greece was a form of risk management.  Even today, stigmatization can be a positive force for risk reduction pdf


A couple is composed of two persons in a committed sexual or romantic relationship, usually over a significant period of time. Couples may be opposite-sex or same-sex, married or unmarried, monogamous or non-monogamous, and cohabitating or living apart and may or may not have children.



The purpose of this descriptive correlational study was to describe the differences in couples' perceptions of wives' Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) symptoms and to describe the relationship between changing symptoms and the marital relationship.


Cure versus care

The term 'Quality of Life' is often heard... and said at the Hospice to remind us of our main aim and purpose. As most of our patients have been diagnosed with a terminal disease, further treatment is often inappropriate and cure is not always an option.


De-stigmatizing Disease

Growing up in the '90s, it's almost guaranteed that you have been offered to wear a red AIDS ribbon, a yellow Livestrong bracelet, or a pink breast cancer pin at some point in your life. It could be said that some diseases even have an era as they rise and fall in the awareness of the public eye. We've seen it in the past with polio and mumps and most recently with cancer and AIDS. However, before the public can accept the severity of these diseases and work for change, they must first overcome the built-in stigmas attached to these diseases. This can be difficult to do, especially if choice was a factor in contracting or developing the disease, which would imply that the person is partially responsible for his or her situation. Ultimately, this makes for a cause that is far less likely to generate sympathy or funding from society.  
Definition of the freak Sadly, those of our species who are found to be outside the borders of normality in appearance and action have been often stared at, studied, exploited, exhibited, and most often, feared. In the middle ages, they were seen as "prodigies", signs of God's displeasure and/or dominion over the earth, and were thus exploited by religious zealots.  


Because HIV/AIDS carries so much stigma (qv) there are many pressures for denying a seropositive status or not seeking a test. Individuals may have a psychological aversion to hearing news of what is considered to be virtually a death sentence and there are more practical disadvantages such as the high chances of being sacked or difficulties in getting insurance as well as marital problems when serostatus is known. At governmental level there may be denial of statistics because it is assumed that this will frighten away investment or tourists.


Differences in Knowledge of Hepatitis B Among Vietnamese, African- American, Hispanic, and White Adolescents in Worcester, Massachusetts

Adolescent knowledge about risk of infection was low in this study. Attention should be directed at providinghealth education on hepatitis B to adolescents, particularly to Vietnamese. Health care providers, community healtheducators, and others engaged in the effort to control and eradicate hepatitis B should be sensitive to the unique educationaland cultural needs of high-risk southeast Asian adolescent populations.



Public attitudes toward disability are often the greatest barrier for people with disabilities



Hepatitis C (Hepatitis C Virus) is a highly stigmatized disease. Revealing a diagnosis of Hepatitis C Virus can cause anxiety on a number of levels. The ramifications of this disclosure can impact medical, marital, family, insurance and other area of one’s life.


Doctors' and Nurses' Knowledge and Attitudes

From a social perspective, AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) revives longstanding issues about the relationships between health care professionals and their patients. A particular issue is the willingness of physicians and nurses to treat people with a contagious, fatal, and stigmatized disease.


Effect of HIV Reporting by Name on Use of HIV Testing in Publicly Funded Counseling and Testing Programs

No significant declines in the total number of HIV tests provided at counseling and testing sites in the months immediately after implementation of HIV reporting occurred in any state, other than those expected from trends present before HIV reporting.



Listing of references

51 kb pdf

Epidemic Cholera in the New World

In Latin America, as in other parts of the world, epidemiological field investigations of cholera have defined the local routes of transmission, identified unsuspected and correctable control points, and quantified the effects of emergency measure

74 kb pdf

Epidemic Ravages Caregivers; Thousands die from diseases contracted through needle sticks

"When a crane falls or a mine caves in, the government rushes to do something about it. But when health care workers are dying, it's invisible."


Face Dynamics: From Conceptualization to Measurement Having face means both commanding social influence over others as well as being influenced by others--another aspect of reciprocity.  A person who has face is in a position to exercise considerable influence, even control, over others in direct or indirect ways; at the same time, he/she is under a strong constraint to act in accordance with the requirements for maintaining his/her face.  The more face, the greater the social visibility and public scrutiny over one's actions, and hence the stronger the constraint imposed on one's actions.  Examples are abundant:  candidates seeking high public office in the United States run the risk of having their private life, past and present, exposed to microscopic scrutiny by the public.  

Fact Sheet: UNAIDS Describes HIV/AIDS Discrimination

All over the world, the epidemics of HIV and AIDS are having a profound impact, bringing out the best and the worst in people. They trigger the best when individuals group together in solidarity to combat government, community and individual denial, and to offer support and care to people living with HIV and AIDS. They bring out the worst when individuals are stigmatized and ostracized by their loved ones, their family and their communities, and discriminated against individually as well as institutionally.


Factors associated with refusal to treat HIV-infected patients: the results of a national survey of dentists in Canada

One in 6 dentists reported refusal to treat HIV-infected patients, which was associated primarily with respondents' lack of belief in an ethical responsibility to treat patients with HIV and fears related to cross-infection


Fear and Stigma: The Epidemic within the SARS Outbreak Because of their evolving nature and inherent scientific uncertainties, outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases can be associated with considerable fear in the general public or in specific communities, especially when illness and deaths are substantial. Mitigating fear and discrimination directed toward persons infected with, and affected by, infectious disease can be important in controlling transmission. Persons who are feared and stigmatized may delay seeking care and remain in the community undetected.  

Fear of dying and HIV infection vs. hepatitis B Infection

Fear of certain death seems to account for the greater concern about exposure to HIV than to Hepatitis B.


Health-Africa-AIDS-stigma: Africa's AIDS pandemic finds a friend in stigma "Religious leaders have contributed to stigma because they regard the victims as sinners and adulterers," Sheikh Al Haj Yussuf, vice chair of Kenya Muslim Supreme Council, said. "It is still a taboo of sexuality. The link is: AIDS equals sex and sin, because people are reluctant and fear to speak about it openly," said a South African priest, Reverend Jape Heath, a coordinator of African Network of Religious Leaders Living with HIV.  

Hepatitis C Tests, Treatment for New Jersey Prison Inmates Could Cost State More Than $8 Million Per Year

A New Jersey program to pay for hepatitis C tests and treatment for prison inmates could cost between $4.5 million and $8 million this year


Hepatitis C-change: Executive summary

The evidence to this Enquiry clearly demonstrates that hepatitis C is a highly stigmatized condition and that discrimination against people with hepatitis C is rife. Such discrimination is often driven by irrational fears about hepatitis C infection, due to an inadequate understanding of how hepatitis C is transmitted. However, a perhaps more powerful driving force for discrimination than ignorance about hepatitis C transmission, is that infection is inextricably linked with illicit drug use, a highly stigmatized behavior. Evidence to this Enquiry makes it abundantly clear that discrimination against people with hepatitis C is often motivated by stereotyped responses towards people on the basis of past, current or assumed injecting drug use.


HIV And Homeless Shelters: Policy And Practice

The crises of homelessness and HIV are two of our country's greatest challenges. Rather than existing independent of each other, they are inextricably interwoven. It is estimated that between one third and one half of people living with AIDS in the United States are either homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness. This means that a disproportionate number of homeless individuals are infected with HIV. A study tracking the spread of HIV in the late '80's and early '90's in 16 U.S. cities reported a median HIV seroprevalence of 3.4% for homeless adults, compared to less than 1% for the general population.


HIV Stigma Scale

This study ask about some of the social and emotional aspect of having HIV-questionnaire

105 kb pdf

HIV Testing and Confidentiality

[t]he surveillance of an infectious disease has been defined as the continuous scrutiny of all aspects of its spread. ... The reporting of an infectious disease is often seen as a first step in controlling its further spread. Reporting allows determination of the presence of the disease in the population.


HIV-Related Stigma and Discrimination - The Epidemic Continues

This article is one of a series commissioned to mark the tenth anniversary of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, discussing past developments and future directions in areas of policy and law related to HIV/AIDS. It looks at HIV-related stigma and discrimination. The article summarizes the present situation as described in reports from numerous countries throughout the world. It reviews the institutional, non-institutional, and structural dimensions of HIV-related discrimination. It also identifies some essential components of anti-discrimination efforts: legal protection; public, workplace, and health-care programs; community mobilization; and strategizing on the determinants of health.


HIV-Related Stigma and Knowledge in the United States: Prevalence and Trends, 1991-1999

People with AIDS and the social groups to which they belong have been stigmatized worldwide since the epidemic began. Stigma has interfered with effective societal response to AIDS and has imposed hardships on people living with HIV as well as their loved ones, caregivers, and communities.

1,414 kb pdf

HIV-related stigma in a sample of HIV-affected older female African American caregivers

Nineteen older female (mostly African American) in formal caregivers of HIV-infected individuals participated in qualitative interviews to explore their experiences with HIV-related stigma. Perceived and directly experienced stigma were examined in the context of disclosure of the presence of HIV disease. Overt HIV-related stigma was rarely experienced by these respondents, primarily because they had not widely disclosed the presence of HIV in the family and therefore had not given anyone the opportunity to ostracize or judge them. HIV-related stigma was internalized, so that disclosure decisions were based on their anticipation of censure. There also was evidence of associative stigma and of stigma management. The findings suggest the need for social work practitioners to increase awareness of the needs of stigmatized, isolated HIV-affected caregivers.


HIV/AIDS and Municipalities Although AIDS has become very common it is still surrounded by silence. People are ashamed to speak about being infected and many see it as a scandal when it happens in their families. People living with AIDS are exposed to daily prejudice born out of ignorance and fear.  
HIV/AIDS Stigma and Discrimination: A Kerala Experience It goes without saying that HIV/AIDS is as much about social phenomena as it is about biological and medical concerns…But the disease is also associated with stigma, ostracism, repression and discrimination as HIV affected individuals have been rejected by their families, their loved ones and their communities. 43 kb pdf
HIV/AIDS Stigma: The Latest Dirty Secret The rejection of HIV/AIDS stigma is based on the understanding that all acts of social exclusion relating to HIV/AIDS are not only morally wrong but also counterproductive to effective HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment 191 kb pdf


considers the situation of women and HIV/AIDS in a country which is well into an AIDS epidemic. Important vectors of the HIV virus in India have been previously identified as migrant workers, long distance truck drivers, commercial sex workers, blood donors, and IV drug users. The new vector is the ordinary Indian mother.


JAMA: Early Effects of a School-Based Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection and Sexual Risk Prevention Intervention

To determine the short-term effect of a middle and high school-based human immunodeficiency virus and sexuality intervention (Rochester AIDS Prevention Project for Youth [RAPP]) on knowledge, self-efficacy, and behavior intention.


Kerala Health and Decentralization Project
Case Study: Thrikkakkara Co-operative Hospital

The high cost of specialized private medicine had convinced many local people that they would never have access to affordable health care above the PHC. But in 1996 the People’s Campaign aroused hopes for a co-operative hospital.


Kerala, India

Efforts within that region to change economic levels

777 kb pdf

Lack of Awareness of Hepatitis C Risk Among Persons Who Received Blood Transfusions Before 1990

Hepatitis C virus (Hepatitis C Virus) is the most common chronic bloodborne virus infection in the United States, with an estimated 2.7 million persons chronically infected.' The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that persons with known risk factors for Hepatitis C Virus infection be identified and offered counseling and testing! This includes persons who may have been infected by blood transfusions received before July 1992, when multi-antigen anti-Hepatitis C Virus tests to screen donors came into use.To identify such


Leprosy and the law - Burning issue for a burning out disease Rights of people suffering from Hansen's disease have evoked renewed interest. One of the major causes could be the media attention to the claims for compensation filed by some of the Japanese people released from treatment of Hansen's disease  

Lessons From the India Epidemic

The existence of several million female sexworkers along with millions of all other varieties in India show that we have a highly promiscuous way of life. We all pretend that we have the barest minimum of sexual life and only the "westerners" are indulging in sex. If it is true, then how come we, Asians have the two thirds of the world population? We should know that we are more active in sex and for that matter, more in 'penetrative' sex and for that matter, more in 'unsafe' sex among all the people in the world.


Local Planning and Democratic Participation as Mechanisms for Improving Third World Health Conditions Recently, however, the Kerala health situation faces many problems. The quality of government health services has declined. Rapid expansion of private sector health facilities has led to overmedicalization to produce profits. This is seen in the very high rate of caesarian births and increasing health expenditure. Despite many decades of successful immunization programs, Kerala has not achieved as much as it could in providing safe drinking water to much of the population. In general, infectious and parasitic diseases have not been fully conquered but the longevity is leading to the spread of chronic and old age diseases including diabetes, arthritis, various forms of cancer, hypertension, and the like  



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