HIV-related stigma is among the most formidable obstacles for people living with HIV and their advocates. Stigma is a product of misinformation and broad societal acceptance of certain human characteristics or behaviors as inherently bad or spoiling of individual identity. HIV-related stigma is a significant public health problem; it creates very real obstacles for people with HIV in obtaining treatment, housing, education, and employment, all of which are essential to their health. Because HIV and the behaviors or identities associated with it - such as being gay or using drugs - are still stigmatized, confirming or disclosing one's HIV status is still widely perceived as socially dangerous. HIV-related stigma discourages testing and prevention practices, and creates confusion about the routes and relative risks of HIV transmission. HIV-related stigma is also tied to and compounded by stigma and discrimination associated with sex, race and ethnicity, immigration status, poverty, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

This HIV Policy Resource Bank category includes materials examining the magnitude and causes of HIV-related stigma and its impact on the health, rights, and well-being of people living with HIV, with a focus on those who face additional marginalization, such as women, people of color, immigrants, those living in poverty, young people, and the LGBT community.