Stigma is a powerful antisocial process and a mark of disgrace that sets a person apart from others. When someone is labelled by their condition they are no longer seen as an individual but as part of a stereotyped group. Negative attitudes and beliefs toward this group create prejudice which leads to negative actions and discrimination.
While stigma has often been associated with diseases like HIV, stigmatization of individuals suffering from any health condition scares everybody and prevents us from seeking information, treatment and counseling, and from leading healthy and productive lives. Stigma is brought to bear on individuals or groups both for health (e.g. disease-specific) and non-health (e.g. gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity) differences, whether real or perceived.
STIGMA = STEREOTYPING = PREJUDICE = DISCRIMINATION
Stigma brings experiences and feelings of:
- isolation and social exclusion
- stereotyping and derogatory labels
- misrepresentation in the media
- discrimination in society including employment or service access
Stigma worsens a person’s circumstance and can lead to a reluctance to seek and/or accept necessary help. Families are also affected by stigma, leading to a lack of disclosure and support.
The ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 is no exception and stigma directed towards those suspected to have the illness, or those arriving from China or travelling through affected country subdues efforts to contain the spread as it may result in false reporting at various screening points or avoidance of disclosure and thus promoting spread.
Let us WASH OUR HANDS of stigma and promote a message of SOLIDARITY not prejudice.
Stand for DIGNITY and INCLUSION for all.