In 2015 we’re continuing to work towards zero discrimination against people living with HIV.
HIV-related stigma still exists and is often fuelled by misconceptions and fear around HIV. This was confirmed by research we conducted in September (summerised below).
Having an honest conversation about experiences of HIV is vital in keeping each other safe and supported in our communities. We recognise HIV-related stigma for what it is – a significant challenge in responding to HIV in New Zealand, yet it is often cloaked in silence.
Stigma adds to isolation, fear and misinformation about HIV. Sharing real experiences of HIV can be a simple and powerful way of countering this. This short video captures some of the stories of people living with HIV, the stigma they have experienced and their hopes for a world without stigma.
Kiwis’ attitudes toward HIV
In September 2014 NZAF and Positive Women commissioned Colmar Brunton to conduct research to gain insights into Kiwis’ attitudes towards HIV. The findings were telling.
Despite knowing key facts about HIV transmission, people still discriminate. Though respondents, for example, were aware that HIV is not transmitted through touch or proximity with someone living with HIV, the same people (42% of those surveyed) said they would feel uncomfortable flatting with someone living with HIV.
50% were uncomfortable about eating food prepared by someone living with HIV, 52% were uncomfortable about a child playing with another with HIV and 87% were uncomfortable about sexual contact (even though 98% knew HIV could not be transmitted if using a condom).
Knowledge of HIV transmission
. 73% people answered correctly that you cannot get HIV from sharing a drinking glass with someone living with HIV.
. 96% people answered correctly that you cannot get HIV from hugging someone living with HIV.
. 80% people answered correctly that you cannot get HIV from sharing food with someone living with HIV.
Though a minority, a significant number were unclear in their understanding of facts about HIV transmission.
Attitudes towards people living with HIV
. 42% said they would be uncomfortable having a flatmate who is living with HIV — a further 5% were unsure.
. 19% said they would be uncomfortable being friends with someone living with HIV, 4% of which said they would be very comfortable — a further 4% were unsure.
. 51% said they would be uncomfortable having food prepared by someone who is living with HIV — a further 6% were unsure.
Source: New Zealand AIDS Foundation