Health and Wellness

ACT: Taking Hurt to Hope

JoAnne Dahl, Ph.D.

ACT: Taking Hurt to Hope – Struggling with HIV/AIDS stigma

Welcome to ACT taking hurt to hope. Today we are going to talk about something that concerns us all AIDS and HIV stigma and discrimination.

AIDS stigma and discrimination exist worldwide, although they manifest themselves differently across countries, communities, religious groups and individuals. They occur alongside other forms of stigma and discrimination, such as racism, stigma based on physical appearance, homophobia. Stigma not only makes it more difficult for people trying to come to terms with HIV and manage their illness on a personal level, but it also interferes with attempts to fight the HIV and AIDS epidemic as a whole. On a national level, the stigma associated with HIV can deter governments from taking fast, effective action against the epidemic, whilst on a personal level it can make individuals reluctant to access HIV testing, treatment and care.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon says:

“Stigma remains the single most important barrier to public action. It is a main reason why too many people are afraid to see a doctor to determine whether they have the disease, or to seek treatment if so. It helps make AIDS the silent killer, because people fear the social disgrace of speaking about it, or taking easily available precautions. Stigma is a chief reason why the AIDS epidemic continues to devastate societies around the world.”1

Today you will get the chance to talk to an expert. Dr Matthew Skinta. is a Clinical Psychologist,
Board Certified in Clinical Health Psychology , working in private practice in San Francisco with a high concentration of HIV-positive gay men, ranging from early 20s to late 60s. Matthew has supervised UCSF Alliance Health Project, and received a small institutional grant that funded an ACT/CFT group for HIV-related stigma.