Living on the outside

From: “Living on the outside” A joint publication of Health and Development Networks – 2006
Key findings and recommendations on the nature and impact of HIV/AIDS-related stigma

Living and surviving is a difficult task for everyone. Some people find it much more difficult than others. Poverty, gender inequality, lack of education and diseases are all factors that make people’s life worse and make individuals more vulnerable to other’s wickedness.

As a loss of power produces diseases – so diseases produce a loss of power. Loss of power and man’s wickedness to other men (homo homini lupus) are the two founding elements of stigma and discrimination, which strike people all over the world. But stigma and discrimination mainly concern those who are affected by morbid conditions such as HIV/AIDS, which stimulates moral judgment and arrogance.
The only way to fight stigma and discrimination is by mobilising ‘the power of humanity’. The safe ground which fosters and encourages the ‘power of humanity’ is based on education, sharing of knowledge and good practices, dialogue between different institutions and cultures, and mutual understanding.

This publication, for which all workers involved in the fight against stigma and discrimination must be grateful to the authors, offers much in that direction, living on the Outside’ is a document full of wisdom and is an inspiring source for concrete solutions, particularly for those of us who really want to make a difference.

Massimo Barra
Italian Red Cross Italy