The negative stigma among the public regarding HIV / AIDS sufferers or also called PLWHA (People With HIV / AIDS) may be widely heard. Many suddenly abstain from PLWHA and not infrequently, many PLWHA who are discriminated against, are excluded until they are considered useless.
The number of people with HIV / AIDS (PLWHA) in Indonesia is increasing every year. One of the causes of HIV / AIDS transmission is the use of unsterile needles in injecting drug addicts (IDUs). HIV and AIDS is still considered a taboo disease that is discussed openly to parents, the community and even health services. This makes PLWHA and their families vulnerable to stigma and discrimination which results in obstacles to obtaining care and treatment.
Stigma from the community can come from the closest family, friends and neighbors, as well as from health workers. The community's stigma that is accepted by PLWHA in the form of discrimination, degrading treatment, abusive treatment, and omission both in the family, social environment and health services. Self-stigma in the form of fear of the condition of oneself and fear of community acceptance, and internalization of the stigma of the community or assume that the negative mind of society towards them is true.
Education is clearly the best way to eliminate stigma on PLWHA and those infected with HIV. The community must constantly be taught not only about how to avoid AIDS transmission, but also about civilizing and humanizing with PLWHA. The myths are not qualified as only those who are homosexual and drug users who might be infected with HIV need to be ignored. In fact, even innocent babies can be infected with HIV. In fact, like other deadly diseases, anyone can get HIV / AIDS, including housewives who are loyal to their husbands, those who have never had sex with one another or have never touched commercial sex workers.
There are many references that are easily searched if you want to understand how to avoid transmission of AIDS / HIV. But if the community is antipathic to PLWHA and those infected with HIV, the desire to understand is broken. Sympathy and empathy are rare items, especially if you have to share them with those who carry stigma like PLWHA. Perhaps the easiest way is to put themselves in their shoes, what if I am infected with HIV? Or what if the person I love turns out to be an PLWHA? Does it feel alienated, feared, yet to be blasphemed as a human being who deserves punishment because of a sinner? Maybe in this way we can be more sympathetic and empathetic to PLWHA and those infected with HIV.