Dealing with Stigma and Rejection

Disentangling Stigma and Rejection in Fiji

Members of the Fijian community who live with HIV – a number that totals about 900 – routinely face life-altering stigma and rejection due to their health condition. This is according to the several HIV-positive Fijians reported by The Fiji Times, who share their experiences of battling with an entrenched social stigma that extends to even close family members.

Stigma and Discrimination: Key Obstacles

The social stigma attached to HIV in Fiji is a significant barrier for those affected by the condition, preventing them from accessing support services and medical treatment. For many, the fear of public backlash or even ostracism from unemployment to isolation affects their willingness and ability to seek medical help.

The Plight of HIV-Positive Individuals

Several HIV-positive Fijian individuals have reported instances of discrimination and persecution. Their everyday experiences include being gossiped about in their communities, losing their jobs, and even being shunned by their families and loved ones. These experiences make it more difficult for them to manage their health condition.

Progress and Efforts to Create Change

Despite the grim reality, efforts are being made to foster a more inclusive society for HIV-positive people in Fiji. National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan (NHASP) is one of the leading organizations that devise strategies to counter societal prejudices and provide support to HIV-positive individuals.

Providing Assistance and Encouraging Open Conversations

NHASP has been dedicated to improving the living conditions for the nearly 900 Fijians living with HIV. Their work involves raising awareness about the condition, promoting responsible behavior, offering support services, and creating an environment for open conversations. By doing so, NHASP aims to reduce the damaging impact of stigma and discrimination on the lives of HIV-positive Fijians.

The Path to a More Accepting Society

While progress is gradually being made, there is still a long way to go to dispel the pervasive stigma surrounding HIV in Fiji. Increasing awareness, encouraging open conversations, and continued efforts from organizations like NHASP, will be the stepping stones to creating a more accepting and supportive society for HIV-positive individuals in Fiji. The move toward equitable healthcare access and social inclusion for all is an ongoing mission for communities worldwide, and Fiji is no exception.


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