Projects: Combating HIV Stigma
Kenya, Tanzania, Chad, Central African Republic
Social stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV are one of the biggest barriers to dealing with the AIDS pandemic, according to UNAIDS.
They prevent governments from acknowledging and addressing AIDS, and discourage people from getting tested. They also dissuade people who know they carry the virus from sharing their status with others and seeking treatment.
One effective way of overcoming stigma is to make treatment readily available, thereby reducing the fear of AIDS. But many governments simply cannot afford it.
Another important factor is having a strong movement of people living with HIV who can support each other, provide a voice at local and national levels, and campaign on issues like free treatment.
Support groups in Kenya, Chad, Central African Republic, and Tanzania use awareness campaigns to help brreak down stigma and get the little-talked about issue into the open.
People in high risk groups - men who have sex with men, sex workers and injecting drug users - experience additional stigma, and many countries do not target these groups in their HIV programmes.