It's hard enough living every day when you're infected with HIV, let alone facing
the realities of the discrimination against you. The stigma attached to HIV causes
more damage than the virus alone. Understanding the truth about HIV helps reduce
the fear associated with it and helps reduce this global epidemic.
There are many ways to limit the HIV virus' effects on the body, but the effects
of discrimination can be just as damaging. The stigma shared against HIV victims
leads to shame, depression, withdrawal and even isolation.
The impact of the infection is multiplied because many times it's hard to find
care and support. The fear of discrimination prevents people from seeking treatment
and even sharing their HIV status openly. This stigma also affects children.
Those who are struggling to cope with the death of parents from AIDS can also
carry the burden of discrimination.
|One of the most important aspects
of erasing the global AIDS epidemic is through providing
more access to medicine. Key partnerships with pharmaceutical
companies are helping to provide cheaper medicine and
increased distribution to countries in need.
In several sub-Saharan countries, HIV care is mostly palliative care. Comfort
and quality-of-life issues can be addressed even in places where antiretroviral
cocktails are not available.
Hospices often function as the only care providers in countries where primary
health care is failing from lack of resources. Hospice nurses, social workers
and volunteers give education on transmission and prevention, erasing myths and
Again, education on HIV has tremendous positive effects. It helps prevent new
cases and allows patients to be cared for at home. When the fear of HIV is replaced
by education about the virus, families no longer reject those who are most in
need of care. And, most importantly, once these same families are educated, they
are more willing to assume roles of rearing the children who have been orphaned