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Discrimination against people living with HIV infection in metropolitan France

Population and Societies

516, November 2014

In France, people living with HIV infection are treated with antiretroviral drugs to control the disease, so they should be able to lead normal lives. This is not always the case, however.
Drawing on a national representative survey conducted in 2011, Élise Marsicano, Rosemary
Dray-Spira, France Lert and Christine Hamelin describe the discrimination to which HIV infected
people are exposed, be it in the workplace, in health care settings or in the family,
and distinguish between the various reasons for unfair treatment (linked to their HIV status
or other factors).

A quarter of people living with HIV in France report experience of discrimination in the two preceding years. The main reported reason is their HIV status (13% of HIV-positive survey respondents). This is
followed by skin colour, origin or nationality and sexual orientation (5% for each). Almost four in ten female HIV-positive immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa, and the same proportion of intravenous drug users, report discrimination, versus slightly more than one in ten heterosexual HIV-positive men
who are not immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa.
Some 11% of persons living with HIV report being discriminated against within the family and 8% in health care settings. Among persons in employment at the time of the survey (half of the sample), 6%
reported discrimination in the workplace.

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