HIV stigma and discrimination directed towards people living with HIV affects us in a number of different ways. Some people living with HIV are shunned by family, peers and the wider community, while others face poor treatment in healthcare and educational settings, erosion of our human rights, and psychological damage. Negative attitudes or prejudice can have lasting effects and limit the way we access HIV testing, treatment or other services.
If you have experienced discrimination because you’re living with HIV, please get in touch with Positive Life NSW on (02) 9206 2177 or freecall 1800 245 677 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The following agencies can also offer information about your options if you have experienced HIV stigma or discrimination:
In 2018, Positive Life consulted with people living with HIV, HIV service providers and other sector representatives about the impacts of HIV stigma and discrimination. In particular, how HIV stigma and discrimination impact on our ability to remain engaged with and navigate our own health needs in the health system.
2015 video by POZ Action: a collaboration of the National Association of People with HIV Australia (NAPWHA), on behalf of the Body Positive membership – Living Positive Victoria, Positive Life New South Wales, Positive Life South Australia and Queensland Positive People. Working together to advance priority action areas for people living with HIV.
Policy of non-reconstruction of bodies with HIV post-autopsy
In 2012, the Department of Forensic Medicine Glebe refused to reconstruct the bodies of people with HIV and/or HCV after conducting an autopsy. NSW was the only jurisdiction in Australia with this policy. This policy caused unwanted disclosure and distress to partners and family members of the diseased and was particularly problematic for the families of rural and Aboriginal people with HIV.
Positive Life thought the policy unnecessary and discriminatory and considered that it reinforced and perpetuated the stigma of infectiousness attached to people with HIV and HCV. Following a submission to the Department of Forensic Medicine by Positive Life they informed us that they would develop a new technique for the restoration of bodies after autopsy which eliminated the use of the suture needle and therefore improved safety for mortuary staff. Reconstruction of HIV/HCV infected bodies was subsequently implemented following further refinement of the trialled technique. Additionally, NSW Public Health Regulation 2011 was modified whereby bodies released to funeral homes no longer had any indication of HIV or Hep C.