As per Wikipedia, the definition of a stigma is as follows: "Stigma is a word that originally means a "sign", "point", or "branding mark"." Wikipedia goes on to call stigma "A badge of shame, a physical mark of infamy or disgrace."
Damn that word. That one word can cause so much strife. The problem is, we allow it to creep into our society and the people who are stigmatized are often the ones giving the stigma the most power.
When it comes to Hepatitis C, the stigma attached to the virus is that this is a disease that only happens to drug addicts. Some people with Hep C may have used illegal drugs at some point but Hepatitis C happens to more than just those folks. Hepatitis C affects many who have never used drugs. The research shows that in the group of people known as "Baby Boomer's" less than 30% of them contracted HCV thru drug use. Less than 30% but yet it is this very group who is very much on the receiving end of this stigma.