What HIV And Ebola Have In Common: Lessons From That Other Stigmatized Virus

It’s clear Ebola survivors are key to helping stop the outbreak. Their immunity to the disease means they can provide vital hands-on care to infected people, and blood transfusions from survivors may also turn out to be an important way to help other patients combat the virus. Yet survivors and their family members are struggling to get back to normal life after defeating the dreaded disease. Disturbing anecdotal reports of adults rejected from their communities and jobs and orphans with nowhere to turn began emerging almost as soon as the outbreak began. And as the virus continues to spread, there’s no sign that things are getting better.

The culprit is stigma; shame, fear or disgrace around a particular experience — such as having had Ebola virus disease. And as HIV/AIDS, another highly stigmatized viral disease, has proven, that stigma can be a devastating strike against people trying to reintegrate into their communities after surviving the disease, according to Caroline Kuo, Ph.D., of Brown University’s School of Public Health.

“Stigma can erode an individual’s decisions to access health care in a number of ways, and it can result in terrible emotional pain for people on —> Read More Here


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