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World AIDS Day: The Impact of Stigma

November 30, 2015
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Each year on December 1 people around the globe come together to recognize World AIDS Day, which is the first-ever global health day to be created. It was first held in 1988, where the fear for and ignorance towards HIV/AIDS was arguably at an all-time high. With more information and a significant increase in the networks and opportunities to discuss the virus, World AIDS Day has become a crucial way for people to show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. To date, more than 35 million people have been recorded as having died from the affliction, and approximately 34 people are living with the virus today. blood-test-for-hiv In a 2014 study, Dr. Rashida Ferrand of the London School of Hygiene and Medicine concluded that the stigma ascribed to HIV infection may be discouraging testing in low- and middle-income countries. Its historical association with promiscuity, drug addiction and homosexuality—as well as varying moral and religious beliefs insofar as negligence—allows for the stigma to carry over into developed countries such as the United States and Canada. With this significant barrier to public action in the fight to end HIV, World AIDS Day takes on even more importance in 2015. It is an opportunity to show support to and solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV. To learn more about the campaign, visit the World AIDS Day website. The Saint James School of Medicine is proud to support the global community in this initiative.
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