Education + Advocacy = Change

Click a topic below for an index of articles:

New Material


Help us Win the Fight!

Alternative Treatments


Financial or Socio-Economic Issues

Health Insurance

Help us Win the Fight



Institutional Issues

International Reports

Legal Concerns

Math Models or Methods to Predict Trends

Medical Issues

Our Sponsors

Occupational Concerns

Our Board


Religion and infectious diseases

State Governments

Stigma or Discrimination Issues

If you would like to submit an article to this website, email us your paper to



any words all words
Results per page:

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

Stereotypes & Diseases

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

We offer a monthly newsletter dealing with the various issues surrounding infectious diseases.  To find out more click HERE.




"Stereotype threat, in contrast, refers to the strictly situational threat of negative stereotypes, the threat that does not depend on cuing an internalized anxiety or expectancy. It is cued by the mere recognition that a negative group stereotype could apply to oneself in a given situation. How threatening this recognition becomes depends on the person's identification with the stereotype-relevant domain. For the domain identified, the situational relevance of the stereotype is threatening because it threatens diminishment in a domain that is self-definitional. For the less domain identified, this recognition is less threatening or not threatening at all, because it threatens something that is less self-definitional.

A Song of Stigma from Jony Jerusalem (One of the most outspoken AIDS activists in Israel. He has documented his battle with the illness on Web sites and through Internet forums and has lectured in schools.)

Stereotype threat, then, as a situational pressure "in the air" so to speak, affects only a subportion of the stereotyped group and, in the area of schooling, probably affects confident students more than unconfident ones. Recall that to be identified with schooling in general, or math in particular, one must have confidence in one's domain-related abilities, enough to perceive good prospects in the domain. This means that stereotype threat should have its greatest effect on the better, more confident students in stereotyped groups, those who have not internalized the group stereotype to the point of doubting their own ability and have thus remained identified with the domain-those who are in the academic vanguard of their group."

AThreat in the Air How Stereotypes Shape Intellectual Identity and Performance

Document Name & Link to Document


File Size /Type

AIDS Action testing An AIDS awareness counselor recently summed up her experience of society's response to AIDS: 'I believe that, although AIDS is a new disease, it is laying bare all the old prejudices and political injustices that already exist.' One area where this is most apparent is the misuse of testing for HIV infection.  

AIDS-related stigma among adolescents

The primary goal of this study is to examine and determine factors influencing stigmatization and discrimination among adolescents towards people living with HIV/AIDS in Botswana.

Pdf 75 kb

An analysis of the policies, pronouncements and programmes on HIV-related stigma and discrimination in Nigeria

The international community had long recognized the limiting effect of HIV-related stigma and discrimination on the control of HIV/AIDS. It is known to undermine the ability of individuals, families and societies to protect themselves and provide support and reassurance to those affected


An Investigation of HIV Knowledge and Self-Perceptions of Behavior At present, young adults and college students are at a substantial risk for contracting HIV/AIDS. Some college students often perceive personal autonomy as freedom from their family of origin and lack of responsibility. Many experiment with alcohol and drugs, and this behavior can increase HIV risk factors. A large number of students do not accurately perceive their risk of infection and remain unaware of the seriousness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic  

Antecedents of Attitudes Toward the Poor


This study assessed attitudes toward the poor using just-world beliefs, external/structural attributions for poverty, and internal/individualistic attributions for wealth as predictors. Just-world beliefs are the extent to which people believe the world is a just or unjust place, and that people get what they deserve. High levels of just-world beliefs frequently contribute to schemas that are associated with victim blaming (e.g., the rape victim must have done something to provoke it). Attributions are indicators of the characteristics (or traits, motives, etc.) that people ascribe to themselves or others.  

Aspects of Stigma

Until we can define what we are dealing with when we talk of stigma and discrimination we may not be able to do anything very much.


Closing the inequality gap in access to primary health care for women living with Hepatitis C

One of the major challenges facing women diagnosed with hepatitis C is overcoming the stigma attached to this illness which frequently acts as a barrier to appropriate and timely primary health care.



Theories about disease-related stigma may be classified in two categories: the behavioral model, which compares diseases or statuses of different types, assumes that stigmas arise from the actions of the stigmatized, and predicts consensus among observers; and the cultural conflict model, which compares the symbolic attitudes of observers, defines stigmas as social constructions, and expects disagreements in reactions.


Consequence of Stigma

The impact of stigma on the affected individual can lead to feelings of depression, guilt and shame, as well as to behaviour that limits participation within communities and access to services intended to assist them. Additionally, the fear of being stigmatised can lead to individual behaviour that heightens the risk of transmission.



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



Public attitudes toward disability are often the greatest barrier for people with disabilities. Since the publication of the reference bibliography "Attitudes toward Handicapped People, Past and Present" in 1984, however, the emphasis in the literature on disability has been shifting from a focus on differentness and limitation to a focus on abilities and potential.


Does the Media report the news or create the News?

Not only did this hysteria-inducing front-page headline bluntly imply that "the mentally-ill" are violent and crazy, but more disturbingly, it boldly implied that New York City's streets are reserved for a select few ("OUR streets", versus, "the streets").


Don’t treat me like I have leprosy We all have prejudices.  Even the most fair-minded of us will at times harbour irrational stereotypes of people who are in some way different. 422 kb pdf
Evolved Disease-Avoidance Processes and Contemporary Anti-social Behavior: Prejudicial attitudes and avoidance of People with Physical Disabilities Drawing on evolutionary psychological logic, we describe a model that links evolved mechanisms of disease-avoidance to contemporary prejudices against individuals with physical disabilities.  Because contagious diseases were often accompanied by anomalous physical features, humans plausibly evolved psychological mechanisms that respond heuristically to the perception of these features, triggering specific emotions (disgust, anxiety), cognitions (negative attitudes), and behaviours (avoidance). 136kb pdf

HIV/AIDS-related Stigma and Discrimination: A Conceptual Framework and an Agenda for Actions—Horizon Report

Jonathan Mann identified three phases of the HIV/AIDS epidemic: the epidemic of HIV, the epidemic of AIDS, and the epidemic of stigma, discrimination, and denial

511 kb pdf

HOMOSEXUALITY: Beliefs about homosexuality;
The two most extreme belief systems about homosexuality 
are explained below. It is important to realize that many 
-- perhaps most-- North Americans hold beliefs that are 
intermediate  between these two viewpoints. There is a strong 
variation of belief with age. Many youth and young adults 
follow the liberal view; most middle aged and elderly persons 
hold strongly conservative views

How Stereotypes Shape Intellectual Identity and Performance

From an observer's standpoint, the situations of a boy and a girl in a math classroom or of a Black student and a White student in any classroom are essentially the same. The teacher is the same; the textbooks are the same; and in better classrooms, these students are treated the same. Is it possible, then, that they could still experience the classroom differently, so differently in fact as to significantly affect their performance and achievement there? This


Illness, Stigma and AIDS Imagine a disease that arouses great fear throughout the United States, especially in New York and other large cities where it is rampant.  Imagine that the disease has no cure and is fatal to most people who manifest its symptoms.  Physicians prescribe a variety of treatments but with little success Pdf 119 kb
Incarnating Stigma: Visual Images of the Body with HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDS has been documented as a stigmatizing condition due to its association with sickness, contagion, and bodily death.  Still, further attention needs to be given to the role that the body plays in this process of stigmatization. 406 kb pdf

Interventions: Research on Reducing Stigma

The term stigma has many associations and implications rooted in history, social science, and public health, but the historical concept of physical stigmata and the sociological framework of deviance and social interactions fall short of research needs for guiding desirable public health interventions to reduce stigma. For that, a working definition of stigma is required that recognizes the distinctive features of particular diseases and particular social and cultural contexts. Research needs include documenting the burden from the stigma of various health problems; comparing both the magnitude and character of stigma for different conditions and in different social and cultural settings; identifying distinctive features of stigma that may guide intervention programs; and evaluating changes in the magnitude and character of stigma over time and in response to interventions and social changes.


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 .


Out of sight and out of mind

Stigma is probably the biggest barrier to combating the HIV epidemic - creating and supporting an environment that fosters new infections, reluctance to testing and disclosing status and reluctance to access treatment, care and support, subsequently impacting at both an individual and societal level.


Overcoming the stigma of chronic illness-Strategies for ‘straightening out’ a spoiled identity This paper addresses the concept of chronic illness as a socially constructed experience of stigma.  The stigma of having a chronic illness affects the person’s self-concept, capacity to adapt to the illness and the quality of his/her social networks.  Social stigma is a de-legitimizing social process derived from both popular and medical views of chronic illness.  Based on research into the coping strategies of a range of people with long-term, serious chronic illnesses, the paper argues that Government health policies and services in Australia can best help people with chronic illness by supporting their self-help groups and community-based activities. 106 kb pdf
Peer influence groups: identifying dense clusters in large networks Early social network theorists argued that the power of social networks lies in large-scale connectivity.  The extended effects of social networks are clear when we consider the spread of diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, that have crossed the globe through an intimate but far-reaching social network. 743 kb pdf

Polarization: Concepts. Measurement, Estimation

There has been a recent upsurge of interest in the measurement of polarization and in the use of such measures as a correlate of different aspects of socioeconomic performance.

445 kb pdf

Prejudice from Thin Air: The effect of Emotion on Automatic Intergroup Attitudes Two experiments provide initial evidence that specific emotional states are capable of creating automatic prejudice toward outgroups.  Specifically, we propose that anger should influence automatic evaluations of outgroups because of its functional relevance to intergroup conflict and competition, whereas other negative emotions less relevant to intergroup relations should not. 162 kb pdf

Quarantine of PLWHAS in Mumbai Airport

The following is the details fo yet another shocking incident and that too by the government officials.


Rooting Out AIDS-Related Stigma and Discrimination A debate over how best to weed out AIDS-related stigma and resulting discrimination is growing within international health circles, as experts try to address these stubborn obstacles to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. While there is increased consensus that HIV/AIDS programs must tackle these issues directly, researchers have yet to find an effective means of tracking changes in attitudes toward infected people  
Social Stigma-A comparative qualitative study of integrated and vertical care approaches to leprosy Leprosy has been associated with stigma and social exclusion throughout history and on all continents, although there are wide variations in the ways in which this is worked out in different communities.  Stigma can be defined as an attribute that is deeply discrediting, and the stigmatized individual is one who is not accepted and is not accorded the respect and regard of his peers; one who is disqualified from social acceptance Pdf 78 kb


What constitutes stigma?

Pdf 107 kb

Stigma and Social Identity

Erving Goffman studied the same psychological links as Lemert, but came to different conclusions. In "Stigma and Social Identity" Goffman reasoned that if Cooley and Lemert are correct (that other people's reactions influence our behaviors and identities), then we will try to control the reactions of others by manipulating what we reveal about ourselves.


Striking Lack of Awareness

People with hepatitis C infection deserve the same tools as those with HIV so that they can become experts about their virus," explains Michael Marco in the introduction to TAG's latest analysis of hepatitis C research and treatment.


Surveillance, Social Risk, and Symbolism: Framing the Analysis for Research and Policy

Although often discussed, the social risks of HIV infection are poorly understood. To the extent these risks have been addressed by privacy and antidiscrimination laws, the solution has been less complete than many public health professionals appear to believe: developments in law and policy, including the increasing prevalence of criminal HIV transmission laws and proposed changes in HIV testing and counseling standards, are contextual factors that help explain the opposition to name-based surveillance. Rather than focusing piecemeal on specific "barriers" to testing and care, an appreciation of the surveillance debate in context suggests a positive undertaking in public health policy to provide the conditions of opportunity, information, motivation and confidence that people with HIV need to accept an effective program of early intervention


Television and the Press: Purveyors of Prejudice or Slayers of Stigma?

"Stigma is the single most serious obstacle to progress in the field of psychiatry". This is not the impulsive outburst of some misguided crank


The Language Of Disability: Problems Of Politics And Practice

Language. . .has as much to do with the philosophical and political conditioning of a society as geography or climate. . .people do not realise the extent to which their attitudes have been conditioned since early childhood by the power of words to ennoble or condemn, augment or detract, glorify or demean. Negative language inflicts the subconscious of most people from the time they first learn to speak. Prejudice is not merely imparted or superimposed. It is metabolised in the bloodstream of society.


The National Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse-Fighting Stigma

The Random House Dictionary defines "stigma" as "a blemish on one's record or reputation." Such a stigma affects anyone who has a psychiatric history. There are myths that have become part of American "folklore" that contribute to this stigma. The main ones are (1 ) that people with mental illness are violent and (2) that people with mental illness don't recover


The Normal and the Abnormal--Historical and cultural perspectives on norms and deviations

Several different articles concerning this topic


Further commentary:
The tendency to stigmatize

This time-honoured propensity has probably served mankind and its ancestors well in protecting the species and ensuring personal survival. Such biological mechanisms as those subserving immediate survival, the quest for food, reproduction and related territorial needs are presumably its foundation. Moreover, the crudity of categorisation and labelling of related perceived possible threats needs, constitutionally, to be safely over-inclusive, before juggling the consequent options of relating to, coming to dominate, fleeing from or ignoring the source.



Studies of attitudes toward mental illness often treat the "mental patient" as a single stereotype


The tendency to stigmatise This time-honoured propensity has probably served humankind and its ancestors well in the service of species and related personal survival. Such biological mechanisms as those subserving immediate survival, the quest for food, reproduction and related territorial needs are presumably its foundation. Moreover, the crudity of categorisation and labelling of related perceived possible threats needs, constitutionally, to be safely over-inclusive, before juggling the consequent options of relating to, coming to dominate, fleeing from or ignoring the source  
Understanding and Challenging HIV Stigma-a toolkit The Toolkit is a resource collection of participatory educational exercises for use in raising awareness and promoting action to challenge HIV stigma 99 kb pdf

When Family Members just can't Understand

There are probably few things in life that are more hurtful than being rejected by family members when we need them most. Unfortunately, many patients find that a diagnosis of hepatitis C not only causes friends to scatter, but also contributes to some families literally splitting apart


Who cares for family and friends?: providing palliative care at home

"Care in the community is good and care at home is even better". While this may be true for patients, it is not necessarily true for the families and friends who provide most of the care when death is imminent. Recently, the carers' perspective has tended to be overlooked and they have often been referred to as the "hidden patients".


Yes, you're positive, but there's nothing we can do for you

HIV is intrinsically linked to poverty and to inequalities of all kinds - social, economic and gender. However, awareness and other preventive programmes do not address inequities that are intrinsic to the problem. The married woman is unable to refuse her husband unprotected sex. The commercial sex worker will not insist on her client using a condom if he threatens to go elsewhere. The national HIV programme fails to take into inequities into account.


 ** In order to view PDF files, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. Many computers already have this software; however, if you need it, a free copy is available for download at this site: Click here to get Adobe Acrobat Reader.