Stigma index of people living with HIV: in 10 years the level of discrimination has dropped almost 4 times

According to the Public Health Center of the Ministry of Health, the percentage of HIV-positive Ukrainians who face discrimination in the form of gossip and threats from the social environment fell from 30% to 8% between 2010 and 2020, and from 18% to 5%, respectively. These findings follow from the fourth wave of the study "Stigma Index of people living with HIV in Ukraine (2020)". Preliminary measurements were conducted in 2010, 2013, 2016.

The rate of denial of health care to people living with HIV fell to 4%, from 22% in 2010. The level of unauthorized disclosure of HIV status by health professionals has also decreased fivefold - 6% of patients reported such an experience in 2020.

At the same time, the level of self-stigma and self-discrimination among HIV patients remains a major problem. Despite significant global advances in HIV treatment, affordable treatment, the availability of preventive medicines and available services, people with HIV continue to feel ashamed and guilty about their HIV status and may refuse medical care and close relationships.

Thus, 68% of HIV-positive patients delay the start of treatment primarily due to fear of condemnation and ill-treatment, including by doctors.

According to the survey, only half of people living with HIV know that there are laws that can protect their rights.

An estimated 251,168 people with HIV live in Ukraine. One in three HIV-positive people still does not know their HIV status or remains out of medical care and therefore does not receive treatment (antiretroviral therapy). Therapy allows people with HIV to live a full life: to have a family, to be socially active.

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