While some diseases, such as cancer, illicit instant sympathy and caring, others, like hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, and mental illness are often shrouded in shame, fear, and misunderstanding.
In fact, according to a survey by the World Hepatitis Alliance (WHA), more than 90 percent of countries report some degree of stigma and discrimination against those with viral hepatitis (primarily hepatitis C and B), which affects 325 million people globally. And, according to the report, having a disease that’s viewed as something to be ashamed of has far-reaching effects on a person’s life.
“In 2017, we surveyed civil society organizations from 72 countries to better understand experiences of stigma and discrimination across the world,” Michael Ninburg, president of World Hepatitis Alliance, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “The findings show that stigma not only affects an individual’s ability to access diagnostics and treatment but also impacts their personal life, mental health and ability to work, learn, and maintain relationships.”