GLAAD recently released its second annual State of HIV Stigma Study, a national survey among U.S. adults with the sample supplied by research firm Cint.
The survey, funded by Gilead COMPASS Initiative, measures U.S. attitudes toward HIV and people living with the virus.
GLAAD also reviewed the history and current state of HIV stigma in the media to offer recommendations to increase and improve HIV coverage. Leaders in HIV education and treatment also share recommendations for defeating stigma in all areas of society.
Study findings included:
48% of American adults feel knowledgeable about HIV, down three points from the last year;
87% believe there is still stigma around HIV;
Only 42% know the fact that people living with HIV cannot transmit it while on proper treatment;
53% of non-LGBTQ people surveyed noted they would be uncomfortable interacting with a medical professional who has HIV, 43% would be uncomfortable around a hairstylist or barber living with HIV, and 35% would be around a teacher living with HIV; and
Levels of discomfort around people living with HIV are higher in the Midwest and highest in the U.S. South.
Following last year's survey results, GLAAD took action with a $9 million multi-year grant from Gilead's COMPASS Initiative to combat HIV stigma in the U.S. South. The program, called "Accelerate Compassion" and "Accelerate Impact," includes media trainings for hundreds of LGBTQ advocates in the South and works with regional media to improve the quantity and quality of LGBTQ coverage. Additionally, the program also includes recent staff hires to support this vital regional and national work.
GLAAD Associate Director, Communities of Color DaShawn Usher said in a statement, "For the second year in a row, we are finding that HIV stigma remains high while HIV knowledge remains low amongst Americans. We have to think critically and intentionally about how we truly equip and engage everyday Americans with the facts, resources, and scientific advancements about HIV if we want to end the epidemic. We must hold the media accountable to the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV who are not seen, represented or discussed. Their stories matter and are beyond worthy of being told."
The full study is at https://www.glaad.org/endhivstigma.