New Australian research is set to shine a light on stigma faced by those living with HIV.

The National Association of People living with HIV/AIDS (NAPWA) and the National Centre in HIV Social Research at the University of New South Wales have developed a new HIV Stigma Audit and are calling on people living with HIV to complete a 20-minute survey.

Discrimination on the basis of HIV status is unlawful right across Australia, however, it’s thought  people living with the virus still experience less favourable treatment.

Researchers say there has also been a lack of detailed study in the area.

According to the HIV Futures Six survey (2009), 26.4 percent of respondents said they had experienced less favourable treatment because of their HIV status when accessing health services, mostly in the form of avoidance and confidentiality issues.

The Futures Six study also showed 16.3 percent of respondents said they were treated less favourably in the workplace, 5.1 percent in the last two years. Discrimination was reported in the form of unfair dismissal, reduced work opportunities and bullying.

A further 7.9 percent of respondents said they had experienced less favourable treatment when seeking accommodation, 2.6 percent of those in the last two years.

Respondents also stated (17.3 percent) they had experienced problems with insurance, commonly having difficulties taking out health or travel insurance.

The HIV Stigma Audit is open to all HIV-positive people over the age of 18 in Australia.

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