Getting to the Heart of Stigma: A Key Element of the Global AIDS Response

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March 1st was Global Zero Discrimination Day, a day created to remind us of the harm that stigma and discrimination, relating to HIV and other characteristics, continues to cause and the role that each of us has in trying to address it. USC IIGH has worked in this area for many years with different partners across a range of settings. And while this year forced most of our activities to be online, the learnings and sense of community spurred by the day and work in this area are as effective and impactful as ever.

As one example, we are currently. working in partnership with the Southern California Evidence Review Center (also based at USC) on a project funded by the International AIDS Society that aims to understand the state of the research on the measurement of stigma and discrimination and to identify interventions that have been successful in reducing them.

Stigma and discrimination continue to prevent people accessing needed HIV-related services from prevention to testing and even treatment services. Without understanding how best to address stigma and discrimination, and truly scaling up efforts to do so, the world will never reach its HIV-related targets, the epidemic will persist, and, most importantly, people’s health and quality of life will continue to suffer.

Focusing on self-stigma, stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings and stigma and discrimination in law and policy, our activities include a systematic literature review to maximize global-level learning. Findings will be used to inform practical guidance to different people working to address HIV-related stigma, including civil society organizations, governments, UN agencies, researchers and funders, to help improve effectiveness.

Through this project, USC IIGH hopes to strengthen the evidence base around how to address HIV-related stigma and discrimination and to engage with decision-makers to ensure that the results are used to inform positive action.

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