Stigma and discrimination

Michael Carter, Emma Standley

Compared to when the first cases of HIV and AIDS were reported, our understanding of the virus has improved hugely. We know how HIV is transmitted and how to treat it – so that, today, people with HIV can have long and healthy lives. Indeed, there are very few things that you can’t do just because you have HIV.

Unfortunately, many people remain ignorant of what is now known about HIV. This lack of information can lead them to be fearful of the virus, people living with, and groups affected by, HIV – resulting in stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV.

Importantly, many people with HIV in the UK have a lot to be optimistic about. And, for those who do experience stigma or discrimination, there is legal protection through legislation such as the Equality Act 2010, and there’s plenty of advice and support available from a number of organisations and professional bodies (see Getting support and having a say).

Contact NAM to find out more about the scientific research and information used to produce this section.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.