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Discrimination against PLHIV as big an issue as ever - EU & Ireland


Jim Allen:
Stigma and discrimination against people with HIV are as big an issue as ever

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In Short:

--- Quote ---EU - Survey responses from 3272 people with HIV from 54 countries.

Preliminary results from a survey of stigma and discrimination conducted by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) show that people living with HIV in Europe are as likely to have experienced stigma in recent years as a decade ago.

The respondents were then asked about whether they had experienced six kinds of negative reactions to their status:

rejection by friends (24% said yes, they had);
threats, or verbal or physical abuse, from a sexual partner (17%);
discriminatory remarks or gossip by their family (16%);
being blackmailed by people they knew (15%);
threats or abuse from their family (11%); and being excluded from family activities (10%).

The survey also asked about experiences of stigma in the healthcare setting.

Experiences of overt discrimination were less common but a third had experienced healthcare staff being discriminatory to others with HIV (11% in the last year), 29% had heard staff making discriminatory remarks or gossiping (9% in the last year) and 23% had experienced reduced or delayed services due to their HIV (7% in the last year). Fifteen per cent had been tested for HIV without their consent, though this seemed to be less common now (3% in the last year).

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Irish healthcare workers survey

--- Quote ---Dr Vaughan - Vaughan E. Measuring HIV-related stigma in healthcare settings: Lessons from Ireland.

A survey conducted this summer in Ireland gathered 298 responses from a variety of healthcare workers, most of them not HIV specialists (71% said they had had no experience in HIV care).

Among the respondents, 32% were nurses, 23% doctors and 44% were other practitioners such as dietitians and dental hygienists, and also receptionists and administrators.

Eighty per cent said they had received no specific training in HIV stigma and discrimination. Twenty per cent were aware of written workplace guidelines about treating people with HIV, but just as many said they were unaware they could get into trouble if accused of discriminating against people with HIV.

Seventeen per cent said they had never heard of U=U but although this implies that 83% had, 40% still said they would be uncomfortable about taking blood from a person with HIV and 29% dressing a wound.

Thirty-one per cent said they would always wear gloves when treating a person with HIV and 13% double gloves. Twenty-one per cent said they would take other precautions not required by guidelines: a nurse said they would “wear eye protection when drawing blood”, a dental hygienist would “always schedule appointments at the end of the day” and a dietitian would “avoid securing a nasal tube if possible”.
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