Stigma and discrimination have remained pervasive barriers to effective HIV programming for the 40 years of the HIV epidemic. While progress has been made in addressing stigma and discrimination, challenges remain in ensuring dignity, equity, and inclusion in health, for all.
HIV-related stigma and discrimination are complex phenomenon affecting people living with HIV and people who may be at risk, or perceived risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, while intersecting with other social factors including class, race, gender, age, disability, and sexual orientation. Stigma and discrimination have been shown to increase vulnerability to HIV infection and affect both quality of life and treatment outcomes for people seeking HIV services in addition to affecting mental health, employment, and other factors. All these factors ultimately compromise access to, and utilization of, health services. UNAIDS estimates that about 70% of new infections are among key populations and their partners.
WHO leads the health sector response to HIV and has been tasked to promote dignity, equity, and inclusion and to help combat stigma and discrimination in the health sector. A priority activity for WHO identified from stakeholders is the development of workstreams that can provide a foundation and examples for country impact, which includes development of a technical brief, to be launched in 2024.
To inform the development and focus of WHO’s work in this area, an online survey is available for leaders who have been challenging HIV-related stigma around the world, including community and civil society leaders, doctors, nurses, midwives, researchers and medical educators. The survey will take about 10 minutes to complete and will consolidate input from a wide variety of stakeholders to inform the development and focus of WHO’s work in this area. This survey offers the opportunity to self-nominate if you would like to volunteer to join as a potential contributor to further support this process.