Preventing infection at home 179
Stigma and HIV/AIDS
In some communities, people who are HIV-positive or have AIDS are made to feel
ashamed. No one in the community will associate with them, and they think the
family of someone who has HIV/AIDS has disgraced the community.
Thousands of HIV-positive people hide their status. They are frightened of
rejection by friends, family, and neighbors, even though HIV/AIDS is not passed
from one person to another through casual contact.
Many people with AIDS and their families do not ask for help from their
communities because of the shame and disgrace they are made to feel. This can
make it very difficult for someone with AIDS to get the help and treatment he or
she needs, even though there are medicines available that allow people with AIDS
to live longer, healthier lives.
Preventing infection at home
Many people think HIV can spread easily. This is not true. If you follow
these guidelines, there is no risk of spreading HIV or hepatitis from
an infected person to others around her, or of getting HIV or hepatitis
• Do not share anything that touches blood. This includes
razors, needles, any sharp instruments that cut the skin, and
toothbrushes. If you must share such things, boil them first in
water for 20 minutes.
• Keep all wounds covered with a clean bandage or cloth.
Persons with or without HIV or hepatitis should do this.
• Burn or bury soiled bandages that cannot be rewashed.
• Avoid touching body fluids with your bare hands. Use a piece of
plastic or paper, gloves, or a big leaf to handle dirty bandages, cloths,
blood, vomit, or stool.
• Wash your hands with soap and water after changing dirty bedding
• Keep bedding and clothing clean. To clean soiled bedding or clothes:
• keep them separate from other household laundry.
• hold an unstained part and rinse off any body fluids with water.
• wash the bedding and clothing in soapy water, hang to dry—if possible
in the sun—and fold or iron as usual.
• When washing dirty laundry, it is helpful, but not necessary, to wear gloves or
plastic bags on your hands.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007