Addressing Stigma Vital To Ending AIDS By 2030
The Conversation: Three decades on, stigma still stymies HIV prevention and treatment
Linda-Gail Bekker, professor of medicine and deputy director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine at the University of Cape Town
“…Unless stigma is addressed, the aim of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 — one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals — is unlikely to become a reality. … The good news is that stigma can be reduced if three basic interventions are put in place. Firstly, through the implementation of effective and sustained mass media campaigns and health promotion aimed at dispelling the common myths. These campaigns should involve HIV-positive people as message bearers. Secondly, normalizing and promoting the interaction with HIV prevention services. What is needed here are more people openly engaging about HIV testing and taking PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). And thirdly, laws and policies that protect those living with the virus from discrimination and promote them being able to access health care services. These are especially important for key population groups living in countries where criminalization disrupts public health strategies” (11/22).