Santé Montréal

The most dangerous thing about HIV is the stigma

HIV stigma

With effective treatment, the infection can’t be transmitted. 
The fight against HIV has come a long way. It’s time to catch up.

About 10,000 people are living with HIV in Montréal. Current treatments improve their health and their life expectancy is similar to that of the general population. The treatments also prevent sexual transmission of the virus. 

Treatments have changed, but the stigma is still there People living with HIV still face stigma. They continue to experience rejection and discrimination, which affects their health and well-being.

AIDS Stigma 1

You've got to be kidding!

No one “deserves” to get HIV. Anyone can get it, but some communities are more affected. People living with HIV aren’t to blame. They often didn’t have access to available prevention measures.


AIDS Stigma 2

You've got to be kidding!

HIV doesn’t spread through food or objects. In Montréal, the virus is most often transmitted sexually. Good news: with effective treatment, people living with HIV do not sexually transmit the virus to their partners. However, the virus can sometimes spread through blood in specific circumstances (e.g. reusing syringes) or from a mother to her child during pregnancy or delivery, if the mother is not on treatment.

AIDS Stigma 3

You've got to be kidding!

Anyone can get HIV/AIDS. While it is true that, in Montréal, gay men and people who use injection drugs are more affected, anyone can get HIV regardless of sexual orientation or drug use habits.

What is HIV?

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is an infection that affects the immune system (cells that help the body fight infections). Without treatment, the virus can make the person more vulnerable to some infections and diseases.

What is AIDS?

Without treatment, HIV can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). AIDS occurs when a person's immune system is so weak that he or she develops diseases.

Montréal sans sida

The goal of this campaign is to fight the stigma and discrimination that people living with HIV face. It is one of the activities in the Montréal, Fast-Track City action plan, an initiative co-chaired by the City of Montréal, Direction régionale de santé publique de Montréal and Table des organismes communautaires montréalais de lutte contre le sida.


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Éditée par : Direction régionale de santé publique de Montréal.
Last Update : 05 March 2020