HIV/AIDS stigma: The latest dirty secret

  • Jo Stein AIDS and Society Research Unit, Centre for Social Science Research, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa


The rejection of HIV/AIDS stigma is based on the understanding that all acts of social exclusion relating to HIV/AIDS are not only morally wrong but also counterproductive to effective HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. There is some survey evidence suggesting that HIV/AIDS stigma has already diminished substantially over time both in South Africa and worldwide. However, it is arguable that these surveys are failing to measure the changing face of stigma effectively. This paper describes some of the conceptual and methodological challenges that quantitative research measuring stigma needs to address. Foremost amongst these is the fact that HIV/AIDS stigma stems from multiple sources which cannot be conflated if stigma is to be properly identified, measured and most importantly, addressed.

Keywords: denial, discrimination, prevention, inequality

African Journal of AIDS Research 2003, 2(2): 95–101

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1608-5906
print ISSN: 1727-9445