For the Mental Health and Wellness of People Living with and Affected by HIV
ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN
HIV & mental health stigma and discrimination undermine the physical and especially the mental health of people living with and vulnerable to HIV. Responding to this situation requires significantly more collaboration from workers across the continuum of HIV and mental healthcare services. This campaign calls on all workers to emphasise wellness, stigma-free and integrated services, and continuing education.
EATG’s Stigma-Free HIV & Mental Health campaign focuses on how stigma and discrimination have a serious negative impact on the mental health of people living with and vulnerable to HIV. Sadly, this is also too often the case even in healthcare settings. The campaign also emphasises that improving integration across HIV and mental health services is central to addressing this situation.
HIV & mental health stigma and discrimination undermine the physical and especially the mental health of people living with and vulnerable to HIV. This is even more the case for those living with multiple or intersecting marginalisations,
e.g. people who are living with HIV and also with tuberculosis or viral hepatitis, or are gay men, trans, gender non-conforming, belonging to ethnic minorities,
indigenous people, drug users, migrants, prisoners, sex workers, or several of the above. Addressing this situation will require much improved collaboration across professional and lay, clinical and psychosocial, hospital and clinic-led as well as community-based/led workers and services.
The rationale for this campaign and its recommendations is based on many sources, including The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as Integration of mental health and HIV interventions - Key considerations, produced jointly by UNAIDS and WHO. EATG’s recent Briefing Paper: Mental Health of People living with HIV, and Discussion Paper: The role of community-based services within the continuum of HIV and mental health are also fundamental for this campaign and
its recommendations. Furthermore, this campaign is informed by the findings of the ECDC Stigma: survey of people living with HIV and the mental health in all policies approach.
UNAIDS factsheet on HIV and Stigma and Discrimination1 notes:
• Across 19 countries with available data, up to 40% of people living with HIV report being forced to submit to a medical or health procedure.
• In 25 of 36 countries with recent data, more than half (>50%) of people aged 15 to 49 hold discriminatory attitudes toward people living with HIV.
• People living with HIV who perceive high levels of HIV-related stigma are 2,4 times more likely to delay enrolment in care until they are very ill.
• Removing laws criminalising sex work has been estimated to avoid between 33% and 46% of new HIV infections among sex workers and clients over a ten- year period.
• Under international human rights law, discrimination on the basis of HIV status, sexual orientation, sex and gender identity and expression, health status (including drug dependence) or sex work is a human rights violation.