Stigma of Hiv/Aids

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Stigma of HIV/AIDS

It goes without saying that HIV and AIDS are as much about social phenomena as they are about biological and medical concerns. From the moment scientists identified HIV and AIDS, social responses of fear, denial, stigma, and discrimination have accompanied the epidemic. Discrimination has spread rapidly, fuelling anxiety and prejudice against the groups most commonly affected, as well as those living with HIV or AIDS. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of education and misconceptions that have developed about the disease. Some individuals affected (or believed to be affected) by HIV have even been rejected by their families, their loved ones, and their communities. This rejection holds as true in the rich
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Rejection caused by discrimination, as well as the negative stigma that accompanies AIDS, is proving itself to not only be a major problem in rich countries like the US, but also poorer countries like Thailand. In an October 2006 issue of the New York Times, author Seth Mydan states that, “Thailand has made little headway in easing a harsh stigma that was fed by its successful campaign against the disease. As more people are living longer, more are becoming outcasts in a family-based society where it is difficult to blend into the crowd.” Discrimination against those who have survived on medications is leading many victims into isolation. In an attempt to form unity among these people, survivors have formed various self-help networks where they can be happy among friends and not have to worry about being discriminated against. Also, with the support of the government, intensive-care wards have been set up at different locations around Thailand giving the people who are infected with HIV/AIDS somewhere to go to be treated with medications and loving care.
In response to the major discrimination that most HIV/AIDS victims face, the national government, as well as local and state agencies, has developed laws to help stop major discrimination. On the national level there are two federal laws that protect persons living with HIV/AIDS from discrimination. These laws include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act
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