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COVID-19 public health measures may exacerbate stigma. Associate Professor Carmen Logie offers possible ways forward

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Public efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 can also further stigmatize vulnerable populations, but there are ways we can move forward to minimize stigma while managing public health, says Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work Associate Professor Carmen H. Logie and Janet M. Turan from the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The two researchers wrote an article for the journal AIDS and Behavior outlining four tensions that exist between COVID-19 containment and stigma mitigation, leveraging past research on HIV. They also provided advice on how these tensions could be addressed.

“Enforcement of travel bans, movement restrictions, and quarantines may disproportionately affect already stigmatized persons, including homeless persons, persons who are incarcerated, migrants and refugees, undocumented immigrants, and racial minorities,” write Logie and Turan.

The spread of misinformation facilitated by racism and xenophobia also plays a role. The researchers argue that “addressing underlying social inequities and healthcare access requires long-term investment in transforming values, laws, and policies.” 

Click here to read the full article.