How to Reverse Implicit Bias in HIV Care: 6 Steps to Take Today

October 5, 2017


David Williams, Ph.D., M.P.H.

Recognize that implicit bias is a pervasive concern -- and affects how HIV care providers do their work.

"Research for decades by social psychologists indicates that if you hold a negative stereotype about a group in your subconscious mind and you meet someone from that group, you ... will treat them differently," David Williams, Ph.D., M.P.H., a Harvard university-based expert on race, implicit bias and health, said in a recent TED talk.

Williams also gave an electrifying keynote speech on this topic at this year's U.S. Conference on AIDS (USCA) in Washington, D.C. "It's an unconscious process," he said. "It's an automatic process. It is a subtle process, but it's normal and it occurs even among the most well-intentioned individuals."

Public health data indicate that the health effects on African Americans and other people of color are profound: Black people are sicker, and die more quickly, across all socioeconomic, education and insurance levels.

At USCA, a number of sessions addressed implicit bias in HIV care and service delivery. I caught up with several speakers and presenters to get their tips on what steps HIV care providers can take to uncover and remove the harm of bias in their work.

Image credit: Kyle Pompey.

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This article was provided by It is a part of the publication The 21st United States Conference on AIDS.

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