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AIDS Between Science and Politics$
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Peter Piot

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231166263

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231166263.001.0001

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Prominence of Human Rights

Prominence of Human Rights

(p.147) 8 Prominence of Human Rights
AIDS Between Science and Politics

Peter Piot

, Laurence Garey
Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on the discrimination associated with HIV and AIDS. At the very beginning of the epidemic fear of AIDS was understandable due to a lack of awareness on the mechanisms of transmission of this fatal disease. But thirty years later, despite a fair understanding of AIDS in most societies, false ideas about its spread persist and continue to encourage stigmatization and discrimination. In contrast to what many had hoped for when antiretroviral therapy became widely available, HIV infection was not “normalized” and society's view of people with HIV remains pejorative. Thus, countering stigma and discrimination requires as much an evidence-informed programmatic approach as HIV prevention. A first and essential step is the recognition that every AIDS program needs an antidiscrimination component in order to be fully effective—not just to promote human rights. Several simultaneous approaches are needed to influence HIV-related attitudes and norms, including awareness campaigns, programs in the workplace and in schools, statements by celebrities, activism, and legal change and enforcement.

Keywords:   AIDS discrimination, HIV epidemic, infectious disease, HIV discrimination, HIV prevention, human rights, information campaigns

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