HIV myths, misconceptions, stigma

2 December, 2021

Extracts below. Full text here:


Despite some improvement in people’s tolerance to the disease in the more than 40 years since the AIDS epidemic began, a survey of 55,000 people in 50 countries found that only one in two people knew that HIV cannot be transmitted by sharing a bathroom.

“It is shocking that, 40 years into the HIV and AIDS epidemic, myths and misconceptions are still so widespread,” said Chidi King, head of ILO’s Gender, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Branch.

“A lack of basic fats about how HIV is transmitted is fuelling stigma and discrimination. This survey is a wake-up call to reinvigorate HIV prevention and education programmes; the world of work has a key role to play"....

The survey noted that the lowest tolerance for working directly with people with HIV was found in Asia and the Pacific, followed by the Middle East and North Africa.

The regions with the most positive attitudes were Eastern and Southern Africa, where almost 90 per cent of respondents said they would be comfortable working directly with people with HIV.


COMMENT (NPW): Lack of access to reliable healthcare information and constant exposure to misinformation contribute massively to human suffering, not only through their impact on people's ability to prevent, diagnose and manage disease, but also by driving stigma, discrimination and division.

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator,