Stigma and discrimination are an everyday experience for people living with HIV and AIDS. They have also been identified as key barriers to the achievement of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment care and support by 2010.
Stigma and discrimination are major obstacles to effective HIV and AIDS responses, and have been identified as key barriers to the achievement of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment care and support by 2010.
“Believe me you are not to blame, you should not feel ashamed, it is us to blame: we who tolerate ignorance and practice prejudice, we who have taught you to fear…” Asunta Wagura, Kenya Network of Women with AIDS
This session opened with presentations from:
- Dieneke ter Huurne from the UK Department for International Development on a recent review of initiatives addressing stigma and discrimination around the world
- Tony Savdié from Proyecto Payaso in Guatemala on the process of addressing stigma using street theatre and clowning
The discussion focused on the need to tackle stigma and discrimination in a concerted way by combining initiatives at all levels: from community and interpersonal settings, to institutions such as schools and workplaces, to legal and policy frameworks. However, it was noted that funding patterns that focus on specific projects make it difficult to link up these multiple levels.
Accounts of a range of promising initiatives to tackle stigma were also shared, including the value of arts-based programmes that give a forum for dialogue. More investment could put these techniques at the disposal of stigmatised individuals and communities, and help empower them to unpack the stigma and discrimination affecting their lives.
Another issue to be addressed is ‘self stigma’, where people tend to internalise the negative attitudes of others towards them.