The perceived stigma associated with COVID-19: Findings from a community survey in India
AbstractBACKGROUND: Stigma related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can be a potential barrier in the prevention of the disease. The current study aimed to measure COVID-19-related stigma among the people of India.
METHODS: A cross-sectional online survey was conducted using a semi-structured questionnaire regarding the socio-demographic background and perceived stigma towards COVID-19, using a convenient sampling technique.
RESULTS: A total of 405 responses were received. The respondents’ mean age was 25.6 ±8 years with an age range of 18-76 years, and 52.5% were male. Among the respondents: 60 believed that they would be judged negatively by other people if they disclose their COVID status; 59% believed that if the COVID-19 status of a person is reported to their employer, they are likely to lose their jobs;70% reported that they would feel uncomfortable with patients with COVID-19 infection; 67% thought that developing COVID-19 can make them isolated from society.
CONCLUSION: Perceived stigma was found in the form of fear of being negatively judged and fear of losing their job after disclosing their COVID-19 status. The study warrants an urgent need for stigma reduction strategies which are focused on education and awareness concerning COVID-19.
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