IntroductionPeople living with chronic diseases often encounter a lot of stigma in social contexts. Stigma is the situation in which a group of people is associated with socially undesirable attributes. It can be either perceived or internalised. Perceived stigma entails the individual beliefs and expectations that others will devalue and dishonour that person (Fatoki 2016). Victims anticipate that people will apply stereotypestothem.On the other hand, internalised stigma materialises when a person absorbs the negative stereotypes directed towards the self and takes them to be true (Fatoki 2016). Most of the people going through stigma are devalued due to possessingattributes that are rendered “deeply shameful.” In all aspects, stigma is a dangerous social occurrence that can negatively impact the mental health of the targeted victims. For instance, PLWH encounters stigmatising experiences in their daily lifestyles. According to Turan et al. (2016), patients of HIV/AIDs tend to suffer from stigma-caused depression, non-optimal medication adherence, avoiding hospital visits, and low overall quality of life.The stigma associated withHIV causes patients to lose social standing and value owing to their positive status. Considering that stigma is interpersonal, it is created and perpetuated through societal interactions. In other words, people who spread the information negatively, put PLWH in disgraceful positions. According to Chadwick and Levitt (1998), the subject of ethics in the sphere of healthcare is often neglected. Unfortunately, ethical questions arise in the community, whether in practice situations or the wider society. Community health nurses in the UK, for example, face accusations of discrimination and rationing (Chadwick & Levitt 1998). It is widely known that stigma is a social occurrence that puts into perspective the “us” versus “them” mentality. According to Donnell, Corrigan, and Gallagher (2015), anticipated social stigma affects cognitions, emotions, and behaviour of PLWH. Existing research has comprehensively covered the adverse effects of stigma. Even so, only a few of those have examined and classified the undesirable outcomes of social stigma on the mental health of PLWH at the individual level. This research intends to study the effects of both internalised and perceivedstigma on the mental health of HIV patients.Background and Rationale for the StudyStigma-related effects on specific groups of people have been an intensively researched topic. A lot of scholarly content is available on different books and databases regarding the subject. Existing literature focus on the existence and impact of stigma on PLWH. These studies are useful as they help to affirm the notion that stigmatisation based on HIV status can generate undesirable outcomes on the mental health of victims. Several developments have prompted researchers to delve deeper into the ethics of medical attention and social beliefs about PLWH. For instance, enacting laws that criminalise HIV transmission works against the mental well-being of positive patients. According to Hurley (2018), existing evidence shows that criminalising the transmission of HIV is a detrimental practice that should be avoided. In any case, such misconceived laws only make worse the spread of HIV. People who are already positive and those who are at risk of contracting HIV prefer not to seek treatment services (Hurley 2018). Therefore, HIV criminalisation laws are not only discriminatory but also unwarranted. Besides, such regulations underscore the lack of understanding of the prevalence of stigma in the UK.Fatoki (2016) introduces a rationale to classify the various forms of stigma that PLWH experience. Firstly, perceived stigma includes the individual beliefs that one will be judged negatively if their HIV positive status is exposed to other members of the community (Fatoki 2016). Considering that HIV/AIDS is classified as a chronic illness that victims must battle with for life, people fear that their colleagues may not treat them the same ever again. Perceived stigma can manifest itself in the form of withdrawal symptoms. Secondly, experienced stigma highlights the real-life acts of discrimination that PLWH endures in their lives (Fatoki 2016). Only those who have been diagnosed with this disease can provide a dependable perspective of what it feels to experience stigma. Lastly, internalised stigma entails the normalisation and self-belief that the prejudice exercised upon one is right. People who suffer from these forms of stigma are demotivated from attending clinic appointments and taking antiretroviral medication. Being seen doing such actions, or at the HIV clinic, can expose their status, triggering unending prejudice. The research proposal will focus on the effect of both internalised and perceived stigma on the mental health of PLWH.The experience of stigma is real to the extent that HIV positive patients fear to disclose their status. According to Fatoki (2016), over 60 million people have contracted HIV/AIDS worldwide, 50% of which have died. Just like in the case of coronavirus, the statistics of HIV/AIDS cases are spread across every corner of the globe. Following these mass deaths, society has acclimatised that this disease is dangerous and that people should stay away from positive individuals (Fatoki 2016). The ensuing discrimination and stigma in the UK are a reflection of this erroneous perception. Most members of the public believe that people contract HIV purely through sexual intercourse. The UK has no shortage of cases where personalities fear that disclosing their HIV status may land them into irreversible prejudice. For instance, Tamas Nyary, a 45-year-old doctor in the UK, faked his blood test to keep his HIV positive status concealed (Dyer 2018). He did not want to disclose to his employers that he was HIV positive, let alone being homosexual. This case confirms that PLWH cannot stand the stigma that comes with their status. If they had an option to reverse their condition, they would do so gladly.Experiences of HIV-stigma in the UK are widespread in the UK. According to Okala et al. (2018), about 85,000 people in the UK have been diagnosed with HIV. A whopping 95% of this demographic achieve an undetectable viral load when they adhere to the guidelines of antiretroviral therapy. For this reason, experts are convinced that PLWH can live healthy lifespans. Unfortunately, these patients suffer from high rates of stigmatisation when attending their therapy sessions. For example, dental patients who live with HIV encounter a string of discrimination (Okala et al. 2018). Therefore, training and awareness are necessary to sensitise the medical experts that offering supportive environments for PLWH is the way to go. A survey by Hibbert et al. (2018), revealed that trans people living with HIV in the UK endure high levels of stigma and discrimination, even within healthcare settings. Such biased experiences can impact the health outcomes of PLWH. Besides, stigma often results in negative consequences for PLWH, including visible fear of health officials getting infected when in contact with patients and depressive symptoms (Fatoki 2016).The UK needs to do more to guarantee the social and mental well-being of PLWH.This research about the effects of stigma on the mental health of HIV patients is essentialin the health and social care discipline for several reasons. Firstly, medical officers also perpetuate the stigmatisation of HIV patients either deliberately or unintentionally. Aware of the cognitive dangers that I may cause to a PLWH, I will learn how to shun discrimination and, instead, make the treatment setting more supportive for all patients. Secondly, it is common knowledge that nurses play a crucial role in reducing stigma. By empowering HIV patients and criticising those who perpetrate discrimination, nurses help to break the cycle of disadvantage in the future. Besides, being an advocate for patients is integral to the nursing profession. Thirdly, from an ethical standpoint,stigma is a profoundly discrediting attribute that every profession is expected to criticise. According to Seedhouse (2009), ethics and healthcare are inseparable. In other words, ethical conduct is the core of healthcare.For instance, nondisclosure of the HIV positive statuses of patients is an excellent example of the behaviour that all healthcare professionals are naturally expected to observe. Overall, the stigma of any form is an unwanted condition that all medical officers, including nurses, should strive to eradicate.