December 1, 2022

GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is releasing its third annual State of HIV Stigma Study, a national survey among U.S. adults measuring knowledge and attitudes among Americans about HIV. 

The study, released on the 34th annual World AIDS Day, finds more people are comfortable interacting with people who have HIV, yet a persistent near-90% believe there is still stigma around HIV.

Read the full study:

Download the publication here.

Study findings:

  • 87% of adults agree there is still stigma around HIV

  • 50% feel knowledgeable about HIV

  • 67% agree that medications exist to protect someone from contracting HIV, up 3 points from 2021

  • 46% agree that people living with HIV who are on proper medication cannot transmit the virus, up 4 points from 2021

  • 43% are comfortable interacting with people living with HIV, compared to 36% in 2020

  • Only 31% noted seeing a story about a person living with HIV in the last 12 months; 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV

Quote from GLAAD President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis:
“GLAAD’s study notes where we have made progress and where we need to dramatically accelerate public health messaging about HIV and visibility about HIV in the media for it to be understood as the treatable, untransmittable and preventable condition it is. A majority of Americans believe stigma around HIV still exists, even as they report greater awareness about it and increased comfort around people living with HIV. Only a third of Americans saw a story about people living with HIV in the media in the previous year. Newly-released data show how stigma, inadequate resources and lack of comprehensive public health messaging set back the fight against HIV during the COVID-19 pandemic and delayed response to the monkeypox virus (Mpox) outbreak this year. There is no more time to waste. With accurate representation and visibility in the media, and by elevating accurate and inclusive information, we can end the HIV epidemic.”

Quote from Danny Harris, Executive Director of Engaging Arkansas Communities, a grantee of the Gilead COMPASS Initiative®:
“In our rural state, access to quality information for HIV is limited. Those who would honestly seek to broaden their knowledge are hindered because the news does not reach them. People living with HIV constantly deal with negative words, thoughts, beliefs directed toward them and systems that label them as socially unacceptable. These negative attitudes hinder engagement in HIV care and prevention. Stigma in Arkansas is not only created by the uninformed, but too often by those providing services.  HIV service providers, state-funded HIV programs, and mental health services must do more to encourage clients to get tested and treated, and avoid stigmatizing words and policies.”

GLAAD’s 2022 State of HIV Stigma Study was funded by the Gilead COMPASS Initiative®, with the sample of respondents supplied by research firm Cint.

GLAAD’s “Invisible People” report, released in October, was the first to analyze the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the HIV epidemic, and included voices of people living with HIV and recommendations from Community-based HIV organizations. Data gathered during the pandemic shutdown showed up to a 97% drop in HIV testing in some parts of the country and a 72% drop in new PrEP initiations around Boston, MA. PrEP is 99% effective at preventing HIV. Additional research showed new HIV diagnoses in cities where rates had been falling - a fallout from what the CDC calls a “lost year” in testing during the pandemic.

To commemorate World AIDS Day and to honor those affected by HIV and AIDS, Playbill will be presenting Remember the Ribbon: A Tribute to World AIDS Day, sponsored by Gilead. For the first time in history, GLAAD has been chosen as Playbill’s charitable partner for the event and all donations raised will support our mission to accelerate LGBTQ acceptance. 

Remember the Ribbon: A Tribute to World AIDS Day, streams on YouTube and on December 1-3.

Facts about HIV:

  • People living with HIV today, when on effective treatment, lead long and healthy lives and cannot transmit HIV. Treating HIV can suppress the virus to the point it is no longer detected. When it is undetected, it is untransmittable, the key message of the U=U campaign.

  • Approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. have HIV. 13% of them don’t know it, reinforcing the need for HIV testing and to end stigma around HIV testing. 

  • People most vulnerable to HIV have limited access to transportation, housing, healthcare, and social support. 

  • Black Americans account for more HIV diagnoses (43%), people living with HIV (42%), and the most deaths among people with HIV (44%) than any other racial and ethnic group in the U.S.

  • The CDC reports that the U.S. South experiences the greatest rates of HIV and lags behind in providing quality HIV prevention services and care. 

  • Medications like PrEP protect people who do not have HIV from contracting HIV. The CDC states that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken as prescribed.

The 2022 State of HIV Stigma Study was conducted through an online survey in February of 2022 among a sample of 2,536 U.S. adults, 18 years or over. The sample was sourced and aggregated through CINT, who has the world’s largest consumer network for digital survey-based research. Results from 2022 are compared to 2021, and 2020 if the same question was asked. 

About Engaging Arkansas Communities: 
Engaging Arkansas Communities is a convergence of likeminded, passionate individuals purposefully engaging and empowering Arkansans to achieve the self-value they desire in life. Our staff offers the authentic provision of reassurance, acceptance, understanding, and encouragement during the stress or emotional discomfort of sexual health care (STI checks), treatment, and prevention.