Barcelona 2013
Barcelona 2013
Abstract book - Abstract - 118
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Abstract #118  -  E-Posters English
  50.63: E-Posters English (Poster) on Sunday   in  Chaired by
  Presenting Author:   Mrs Elisabete de Carvalho - SIS Association, France
  Additional Authors:  Dr. Jordi Casabona, Sra Cristina Sanclemente, Dra. Anna  Esteve, Dra. Victoria Gonzalez, Grupo HIVITS TS,  
Sida Info Service is the sexual health helpline of France's SIS Association. Since 2002, the counselling service has conducted four studies assessing stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV (PWHIV). A fifth survey re-evaluates perception of discrimination and focuses on disclosing HIV status to family and friends.
Method / Issue:
The study is based on 301 participants in an anonymous questionnaire of which three quarters are males. The mean age is 41.5 years with a diagnostic dating from 10.5 years. In six out of ten cases HIV had been transmitted by homosexual sex and three out of ten by heterosexual sex.
Results / Comments:
Almost half of PWHIV questioned report discrimination because of their HIV status (47.2%). Analysis of different types of stigma and discrimination is more disturbing: more than seven out of ten participants (72.4%) report at least one precise case. This situation remains current for seven out of ten who report an actual case as recently as 2010. Health services have been invariably singled out (46.6%), constituting the only domain with an increased percentage of reported cases since 2005 (+2.9 points). Self-exclusion behavior is also widespread: though fear of discrimination, seven out of ten PWHIV have renounced something (work, leisure, healthcare, loans, etc.) or relationships (family, friendly, sexual partners, etc.). Although a small minority indicates never feeling the need to disclose HIV status (7.6%), less than two out of ten report speaking freely about their positive status (18%). Three quarters have renounced disclosing their status (74.7%) and more than four out of ten regret having done so (44.9%).
Fear of stigma and discrimination impacts as strongly as actual discrimination, contributing to social isolation and precarity of PWHIV and compromising correct physical and psychological healthcare. This fear too often causes people to keep silent or to renounce something. The vicious circle of stigma, discrimination and self-exclusion must be broken. It is essential to provide support to PWHIV experiencing feelings of shame and guilt from the moment of diagnosis. Discussing HIV openly is doubtless a mean of empowerment against stigma and discrimination. Finally, it is important to protect PWHIV by giving them means of legal redress and combating all forms of stigma and discrimination which contribute to social inequalities. HIV may not yet be a public health emergency in France, but it remains a social and societal emergency.
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