Australasian Society for HIV Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM), 2023
These resources serve as a guide and support for healthcare professionals seeking to understand and address the impact of stigma and discrimination on patient care. Our materials cover best practices for creating inclusive healthcare environments, identification and mitigation of bias, and relevant research and literature on the topic.
Stigma and discrimination have long been recognised as barriers to accessing health services, engaging in healthcare and adhering to treatment. These in turn affect patients’ physical and mental health, quality of life, and personal and social relationships, resulting in poor health outcomes on a number of levels. It doesn’t have to be this way!
Research done by the Centre for Social Research in Health shows that while most healthcare workers privately hold a positive attitude towards people affected by blood borne viruses and people who inject drugs, along with trans, gender diverse people, and other members of the LGBTQ community, they regularly believe that others in their profession do not. Often they feel internal pressure to adopt stigmatizing behaviours that they (incorrectly) believe are inherent in their peers.
It’s crucial to be aware of this in order to call out stigma wherever it appears in the healthcare system, and to truly understand the impacts of this discrimination on the lives and health outcomes of the people being affected.
To support the ongoing fight against stigma and discrimination, ASHM has created video resources for use by clinicians and organizations that showcase (a) the realities of this research, and (b) that allows clinicians the ability to meet some people affected by the stigma in the healthcare system, hear their stories and learn what they can do to adopt an anti-discriminatory approach in their practice to positively impact the lives of their patients.