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The social stigma of HIV–AIDS: society’s role

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      Abstract

      AIDS is a devastating and deadly disease that affects people worldwide and, like all infections, it comes without warning. Specifically, childbearing women with AIDS face constant psychological difficulties during their gestation period, even though the pregnancy itself may be normal and healthy. These women have to deal with the uncertainties and the stress that usually accompany a pregnancy, and they have to live with the reality of having a life-threatening disease; in addition to that, they also have to deal with discriminating and stigmatizing behaviors from their environment. It is well known that a balanced mental state is a major determining factor to having a normal pregnancy and constitutes the starting point for having a good quality of life. Even though the progress in both technology and medicine is rapid, infected pregnant women seem to be missing this basic requirement. Communities seem unprepared and uneducated to smoothly integrate these people in their societies, letting the ignorance marginalize and isolate these patients. For all the aforementioned reasons, it is imperative that society and medical professionals respond and provide all the necessary support and advice to HIV-positive child bearers, in an attempt to allay their fears and relieve their distress. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the difficulties patients with HIV infection have to deal with, in order to survive and merge into society, identify the main reasons for the low public awareness, discuss the current situation, and provide potential solutions to reducing the stigma among HIV patients.

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      Most cited references 65

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      Stigma in the HIV/AIDS epidemic: a review of the literature and recommendations for the way forward.

      Although stigma is considered a major barrier to effective responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, stigma reduction efforts are relegated to the bottom of AIDS programme priorities. The complexity of HIV/AIDS-related stigma is often cited as a primary reason for the limited response to this pervasive phenomenon. In this paper, we systematically review the scientific literature on HIV/AIDS-related stigma to document the current state of research, identify gaps in the available evidence and highlight promising strategies to address stigma. We focus on the following key challenges: defining, measuring and reducing HIV/AIDS-related stigma as well as assessing the impact of stigma on the effectiveness of HIV prevention and treatment programmes. Based on the literature, we conclude by offering a set of recommendations that may represent important next steps in a multifaceted response to stigma in the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
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        Interventions to reduce HIV/AIDS stigma: what have we learned?

        This article reviews 22 studies that test a variety of interventions to decrease AIDS stigma in developed and developing countries. This article assesses published studies that met stringent evaluation criteria in order to draw lessons for future development of interventions to combat stigma. The target group, setting, type of intervention, measures, and scale of these studies varied tremendously. The majority (14) of the studies aimed to increase tolerance of persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) among the general population. The remaining studies tested interventions to increase willingness to treat PLHA among health care providers or improve coping strategies for dealing with AIDS stigma among PLHA or at-risk groups. Results suggest some stigma reduction interventions appear to work, at least on a small scale and in the short term, but many gaps remain especially in relation to scale and duration of impact and in terms of gendered impact of stigma reduction interventions.
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          Fair society, healthy lives.

           R Bell,  M Marmot (2012)
          The final report of the World Health Organization Commission on the Social Determinants of Health (CSDH), published in 2008, affirmed that social injustice was killing on a grand scale, with a toxic combination of 'poor social policies and programmes, unfair economic arrangements, and bad politics' being responsible for producing and reinforcing health inequalities. It provided a comprehensive evidence-based discussion of pervasive inequalities of health in many countries, demonstrating the presence of a social gradient in health outcomes associated with the unfair distribution of the social determinants of health. The social determinants of health include the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, and the fundamental drivers of these conditions: the distribution of power; money; and resources. Following publication of the CSDH report and recommendations for action, the UK Government commissioned a Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England. This article provides an overview and reflection on the findings from the CSDH and the Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England, reviewing the case for putting fairness at the heart of all policy making. In the process, it highlights the need for action on the social determinants of health in order to address health inequalities and the social gradient in health outcomes. Copyright © 2012 The Royal Society for Public Health. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Democritus University of Thrace, Alexandroupolis, Greece
            Author notes
            Correspondence: Zacharias Fasoulakis, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Democritus University of Thrace, Dragana, Alexandroupolis, Greece, Tel +30 697 286 3632, Email hzaxos@ 123456gmail.com
            Journal
            HIV AIDS (Auckl)
            HIV AIDS (Auckl)
            HIV/AIDS - Research and Palliative Care
            HIV/AIDS (Auckland, N.Z.)
            Dove Medical Press
            1179-1373
            2017
            10 May 2017
            : 9
            : 111-118
            5490433
            10.2147/HIV.S129992
            hiv-9-111
            © 2017 Kontomanolis et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

            The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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