Women who are HIV-positive often face a double stigma. This can make women reluctant to seek out HIV services, even if they know they need them.
Lucy said: “Gender discrimination, that is one of the reasons why women are afraid to go to HIV services, because… I'll speak from the perspective of Kenya, where I come from. Any sexually transmitted infection in Kenya is called the woman disease. And so, women are stigmatised as the ones who carry the infections.”
Stigma often comes hand in hand with discrimination acts of discrimination. “Women that have heard stories of others that have been released from their positions or stopped from their employment because of their HIV status will not want to go for HIV services,” says Lucy.
A study by UNAIDS has found that fear of abuse and mistreatment related to stigma of being identified as living with HIV deterred women from accessing HIV services.