HIV positive people are sharing their experiences of stigma and discrimination on social media ahead of march to #FightHIVStigma

Graham Robson March 15, 2023

People living with HIV are taking to social media to share examples of the stigma and discrimination they’ve faced following diagnosis to show the importance of a day of activity to fight against the stigma still surrounding HIV.

The tweets include incidences of HIV-related stigma in the workplace, healthcare and on dating apps using the hashtag #FightHIVStigma – despite huge medical progress in HIV.

This comes ahead of a large scale march and rally to fight HIV stigma organised by a coalition of HIV organisations, including Terrence Higgins Trust and Sussex Beacon. The march is taking place on Saturday, March 18, when thousands are expected to take to the streets of London to loudly and visibly challenge HIV stigma. The march will be followed by a vigil and rally in Trafalgar Square.

Andrew Bates, an occupational therapist living in London, shared a time his GP asked if he had been “naughty” after sharing his HIV status. Adding: “#FightHIVStigma and the rhetoric that because you are living with HIV, you have done something wrong”.

Reverend Jide Macauley also shared poor experiences from dentists and opticians. While Becky, who tweets as Poz_Woman87, said she’s experienced “countless insults” on dating apps and been asked “were you being risky?”.

Niamh, who is has been living with HIV for more than 12 years, said most of the stigma she’s experienced is within healthcare. With theatre maker and actor, Nathaniel Hall, adding he was not eligible for income protection insurance because of his health status “despite never taking any extended periods of sick leave”.

Richard Angell, Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “It’s shocking to hear so many examples of the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV. But it’s also why we’re hosting a day of action to fight this stigma and raise awareness of all the progress made in preventing, testing for and treating HIV. Including the goal that’s firmly in our sights of ending new HIV cases by 2030.

“HIV stigma may have changed since the 1980s, but it’s definitely still there. It’s in healthcare, it’s on dating apps and it’s in too many workplaces. We hope that all of these stories of HIV stigma motivate people to join our march this Saturday and stick with us as we do everything we can to transform public perceptions of HIV – because we can’t do it alone.”

About the march

Those marching will gather from 12pm in Forum Magnum Square, Belvedere Road, London. The march will begin at 1pm and go across Westminster Bridge, past Downing Street and finish at Trafalgar Square. In Trafalgar Square there will be a short vigil and rally, which we expect to be completed by 3pm. More information via

Everyone is welcome to come along to join the fight. The march will be made up of a coalition committed to ending HIV stigma, including African Health Policy Network, BHA for Equality, Fast Track Cardiff and Vale, George House Trust, LGBT Foundation, LGBT HERO, Mildmay Mission Hospital, Sickle Cell Society, Sophia Forum, Spectra London and Sussex Beacon.