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AIDS conference aims to eliminate stigma

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Individuals who receive lab test results indicating that they have HIV or AIDS deal with a number of challenges, including treatment difficulties and potential social isolation. At the recent 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC, researchers called for solutions to these issues, their sentiments mirroring those of patient advocates, according to a report from NBC News.

Conference attendees said that the general public needs to have greater acceptance of HIV/AIDS patients, and that treatment and testing should be promoted more heavily by government entities.

"Stigma keeps people from being diagnosed. It keeps them from being in care," said Melanie Thompson, M.D., of the International Antiviral Society, as quoted by the news source.

Additionally, Thompson noted that public insurance plans should provide the same coverage for HIV care as private companies do.

STD testing is an integral part of lowering the rates of infections like HIV/AIDS. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that about 20 percent of the approximately 1.2 million people in the U.S. living with HIV have not been diagnosed, which significantly increases these patients' risk of transmitting the virus.

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