HIV Stigma

State of HIV Stigma Survey

Measuring American attitudes toward HIV and the impact stigma has on people living with HIV

The HIV epidemic won’t end until we tackle the effects of stigma. We partnered with Gilead Sciences to better understand how much stigma still exists and its impact on those living with HIV. Despite making significant progress towards ending the epidemic, a majority of the public feels uncomfortable, uninformed, and concerned about HIV and people living with it. The State of HIV Stigma survey confirms that stigma and misinformation around HIV is widespread, and there is much work to be done to educate the public before we can end the epidemic once and for all. 

Read the survey.

HIV stigma still exists

Nearly 9 in 10 Americans believe “there is still stigma around HIV,” and 88% of Americans agree that “people are quick to judge those with HIV.”

Stigma can stifle knowledge and necessary conversations between friends, loved ones, and medical professionals, preventing people from getting tested out of fear of social consequences. This can lead to more people living with HIV without knowing it -- or treating it -- and further spreading the virus to others. 

Much more education is needed

Only half of Americans “feel knowledgeable about HIV” and over 90% of Americans agree that promoting prevention should be a high priority.

Even though people living with HIV can lead long and healthy lives with the right treatment, only 60% believe that “HIV is a medical condition that can be treated.” This shouldn’t be the case. Prevention and treatment information should be easily available, schools should ensure students have an accurate HIV education, and increasing prevention and treatment access across the board should be a high priority.

HIVStigma - % of Total National AdultsThe Findings: HIV stigma still exists in America

Majority of Americans are misinformed about how HIV is transmitted

Nearly 6 in 10 Americans wrongfully believe that “it is important to be careful around people living with HIV to avoid catching it.”

HIV is not easily transmitted. HIV cannot be passed through healthy, unbroken skin, and U=U (undetectable = untransmittable) -- if someone with HIV is adhering to their treatment, their viral load is undetectable with effectively no risk of transmitting HIV. This reality has not broken through to the general public. Stigma continues to hinder efforts to educate the public about prevention and treatment options and suppresses valuable conversations about HIV between friends and loved ones.

Stigma hurts people living with HIV professionally, socially, and romantically

HIV Stigma - Survey respondents were asked about their comfort level in eight different  scenarios interacting with people living with HIV

In 2020, people living with HIV shouldn’t have to worry about how people will view or interact with them on a daily basis. These views can negatively impact mental health, job opportunities, and seeking friends and romantic partners.

Click here to see the full survey results.

How you can help: Share the facts about HIV to fight stigma!

Making an impact: GLAAD and Gilead team up to combat stigma

To work to combat HIV stigma in the south, GLAAD announced it’s ‘Accelerate Compassion’ and ‘Accelerate Impact’ programs with the support of a $9 million multi-year grant from Gilead Sciences.

Learn more about HIV prevention and treatment

  1. KNOW - get the facts about HIV and AIDS
  2. TALK - start the conversation
  3. PROTECT - for you & those you love
  4. TEST - know your status
  5. TREAT - stay healthy, protect others