HIV-Related Stigma and Knowledge in the U.S., 1991-1999

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4. People with AIDS are increasingly viewed as deserving their illness


The proportion of respondents believing that people who got AIDS through sex or drug use have gotten what they deserve peaked in 1997 at 28%. This represented a significant increase from 1991.

By 1999, agreement had declined but approximately one fourth of respondents still endorsed the statement.

Framing the issue in less punitive terms, more than half of the 1997 respondents believed that PWAs are responsible for their illness. That proportion declined somewhat in 1999 to 48%.

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Item Wording

  1. "People who got AIDS through sex or drug use have gotten what they deserve."
  2. "Most people with AIDS are responsible for having their illness."

Graphic shows the proportion responding "agree somewhat" or "agree strongly."


From: Herek, G. M., Capitanio, J. P., & Widaman, K. F. (2002). HIV-related stigma and knowledge in the United States: Prevalence and trends, 1991-1999. American Journal of Public Health, 92(3).
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