Understanding and Responding to HIV/AIDS Stigma and Disclosure: An International Challenge for Mental Health Nurses

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Stigma and discrimination are challenges in the care and treatment of persons with HIV infection worldwide. Fear of negative social consequences often causes persons with HIV/AIDS to keep their infection secret, resulting in negative psychological and physical outcomes and continued spread of the disease. Mental health nurses have a unique opportunity to influence the trajectory of HIV/AIDS though counseling and interventions that address HIV/AIDS stigma with clients, communities, and society. This article provides an in-depth examination of HIV/AIDS stigma and its relationship to nondisclosure as well as strategies to deal with these issues at individual and group levels.