Stigma happens when a person or group is denied full social acceptance because of association with something (such as an illness) that is considered bad or shameful by others in their society

Infectious disease outbreaks are often associated with stigma. Stigma is known to have negative effects on the psychological, social, and sometimes physical well-being of affected people. Stigma surveys measure the amount of stigma in a community. They are used routinely for diseases such as HIV and, if applied to other outbreak diseases such as mpox (formerly known as monkeypox), they can help to identify and address stigma. 

Researchers – we want to hear from you!

Learn more and get support for your community engagement and stigma-related activities by contacting us here.

“A lot of stigma can come from the way the health system treats people who have a new disease, and the way public health messages are communicated.”

Read more about ISARIC researcher Amy Paterson’s ongoing work to counter stigma associated with infectious diseases.

Our work and case studies

Outbreak-related stigma

The stigma associated with infectious disease outbreaks can also make it difficult to stop the spread of an outbreak. 

Shining a spotlight on the stigma associated with emerging infectious diseases

ISARIC is collaborating with the Pandemic Sciences Institute (PSI) in the UK, the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Bangladesh (icddr,b) and the World Alliance for Lung and Intensive Care Medicine in Uganda (WALIMU) are developing a set of tools to better understand stigma associated with emerging infectious diseases.