HIV – Related Stigma And Discrimination


The legal definition of HIV or AIDS related discrimination according to UNAIDS is ‘the unfair and unjust treatment of an individual based on his or her real or perceived HIV status”.

For people diagnosed as HIV-positive, no area of their life remains untouched by the stigma associated with this disease. Whether it is education, housing, employment, insurance or medical service providers, HIV positive people are discriminated by almost everyone.

Discrimination is said to have occurred when a person diagnosed as HIV positive is not treated in the same manner as a person diagnosed as HIV negative in an analogous situation either at the work place, hospital, religious places, social gatherings or rather any other place. Discrimination is the aftermath of a stigma and may or may not be intentional. Whether it is deliberate or not, the fact is that discrimination on the basis of a person’s HIV status is not acceptable by law and is a direct violation of human rights.

Certain governments (like the California Government) make certain special provisions under the law for supporting individuals detected with HIV. Under these legal provisions, the employer is required to provide reasonable accommodation near the work place to an HIV positive individual along with certain modifications in the nature of the job or the responsibilities associated with it. An adjustment in work timings, meeting schedules, medical leaves, becomes necessary to accommodate the individual and support him. These reasonable adjustments can be made as long as the individual is productive and does not pose a burden to the employer.

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