Stigma refers to the negative attitudes and judgements people have about others, based on an aspect of their identity. Stigma leads to discrimination, social isolation and abuse.
People with HIV are often stigmatised. This stigma is linked to fears about HIV, which emerged at the beginning of the epidemic when little was known about how HIV was transmitted. Although there is now a lot of more information about this, HIV-related stigma persists.
People from groups most affected by HIV also experience HIV-related stigma, whether they have HIV or not. They can also experience stigma relating to their sexual orientation or gender identity (homophobia), their gender, race, profession, age, or on other grounds.