Do Customers Flee From HIV? A Survey of HIV Stigma and Its Potential Economic Consequences on Small Businesses in Tshwane (Pretoria), South Africa

In AIDS and Behavior, Li-Wei Chao and colleagues investigate if businesses in Pretoria, South Africa with workers known to be HIV positive lose a large percentage of their customers. The researchers interviewed over two thousand individuals and found that, despite zero risk of infection, consumers feared acquiring HIV from products sold by a business with HIV positive workers. This impact of customer decline was found to vary based on the type of business, with an especially strong perceived decline among food businesses. These results suggest that reducing public health scare tactics regarding HIV and enriching HIV education could improve perceptions about people living with HIV.