What is The Root of Stigmatization?

Jeannie Meredith By Jeannie Meredith, 23rd Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Society & Issues

Let's examine the root of stigmatization, using the example of media coverage, and it's effect on society.

The Root Shall Reveal The Source

When H.I.V./AIDS was first recognized by the CDC, Center for Disease Control in 1981 false and erroneous claims circled widespread as to the diseases origin. It was said that it originated as a result of a African person having had sex with a monkey. As false and damning a claim that this was it nonetheless circulated, which resulted in many believers. It was later determined, that it most likely originated due to "Bushmeat Practice", when a hunter or "bushmeat" vendor/handler was cut or bitten while hunting, or butchering an animal.The ignorance that formed in the minds of people is what I believe to be the basis for the stigmas that followed.

As time passed the rumors that followed H.I.V./AIDS only further escalated causing alienation to those afflicted with the deadly disease. Some of these rumors included the methods of transmission. It was being said that transmission could occur through simple contact, and that only gay men were at risk of acquiring the disease. It has since been determined that transmission occurs when the virus enters the body by injecting infected
cells or semen

A perfect example of the stigmas that followed this disease is exhibited in the film "Philadelphia", based on a true story. Tom Hanks appeared as Andrew Becket, a Lawyer for a prestigious law firm in Philadelphia; who was fired for having AIDS, and being gay. The 1993 drama film depicts the life and death of Andrew, and the landmark lawsuit that followed his termination. It takes stories such as this life, and film to inform and educate the people on the effects that stigma hold.

Although, we have made great strides in many areas; we as a population at whole, still have much work ahead. Perhaps, with open and educated minds, we will in time bypass such hateful biases. This cannot be achieved without groups of like-minded individuals banding together. A group of people that band together can create a ripple effect, as it is said “There is power in numbers”.


Aids, Discrimination, Film, Gay, Gay Men, Hiv, Media, Philadelphia, Prejudice Behavior, Rumors, Stigma, Stigmas, Stigmatization, Tom Hanks

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author avatar Jeannie Meredith
Freelance writer, researcher, and entrepreneur.

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author avatar C. Montezuma
24th Aug 2013 (#)

It is a shame it took so long for society to open their eyes - even thought there are still a tremendous number of people who will not even come close to someone who is HIV pos or has full blown AIDS. Fear is dangerous opponant!

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author avatar Jeannie Meredith
24th Aug 2013 (#)

Yes, it is a shame indeed.

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