Hour 14: Stigma

HIV-related stigma affects everyone – gay and straight, HIV-positive and HIV-negative – but most people have no understanding of its ramifications. Sometimes people find it hard to recognise stigma or articulate their response to it. HIV-related stigma and discrimination remain among the biggest challenges impeding progress in responses to HIV around the world.

World AIDS Day Worldwide takes a global look at stigma relating to HIV and how it perpetuates the transference of the virus.

Having just completed a PhD on the subject of stigma, Lucy Stackpool-Moore discusses the different ways in which stigma affects both those living with HIV and the rest of society. Stigma, she says, is something that is abstract in its action but causes profound feelings, while discrimination is far more literal in its action and intention.

Alastair Hudson, the UK country coordinator for the HIV Stigma Index, joins the panel via Skype from London. The index is a research instrument that captures the lived experiences of stigma by those who have HIV and tries to quantify the darkness of stigma. Having been diagnosed as HIV-positive five years ago, Alastair explains how HIV has changed the way he operates sexually, professionally and personally.

Ian Smith, a heterosexual, HIV-negative, politically conservative lobbyist and ENUF Ambassador, tells why he is happy to put his name to the cause of raising awareness, which he calls a “cause of common sense”. Together with his wife, Natasha Stott-Despoja, Ian uses his voice to change attitudes of people in corridors of power who otherwise might be deaf to the issue. He encourages all people to talk about HIV openly, and has been surprised by the understanding reaction he has received.

Host Shannon Power airs her exclusive interview with the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, who shares his excitement that Melbourne is to host AIDS 2014. Mr Sidibé elaborates on the negative outcomes of stigma and discrimination globally, and the focused effort to counter its effects.


Michel Sidibé
Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations
Alastair Hudson
UK Country Coordinator, People Living with HIV Stigma Index
Dr Lucy Stackpool-Moore
AIDS 2014 Media and Communications Manager
Ian Smith
Lobbyist and ENUF Ambassador

Hosted by Shannon Power.

Watch the video above or listen to the audio below: