Risk Perception and the Stigma of HIV/AIDS: Why Routine Testing Will Change How Americans View the Disease

By Vanessa Lynskey


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently introduced new guidelines which will make HIV testing a routine part of a thorough medical evaluation. Given the high rates of incidence and transmission of the disease, and the startling number of people who are unknowingly infected, the number of people who seek testing on their own is unacceptably low. As this low testing rate can be attributed in many instances to an incorrect assessment of risk based on the common stigmas associated with HIV, routine testing will help to break down these barriers by normalizing the process and bringing to light the common misperceptions about risk factors. As a result, routine test- ing should lead to a better-informed public with lower rates of HIV transmission.

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