|"Stigma remains the single most important barrier to public action. It is a main reason why too many people are afraid to see a doctor to determine whether they have the disease, or to seek treatment if so. It helps make AIDS the silent killer, because people fear the social disgrace of speaking about it, or taking easily available precautions. Stigma is a chief reason why the AIDS epidemic continues to devastate societies around the world."
- U.N. Secretary-General, Ban KI-moon
Despite the many medical and social advances that have been made towards ending the HIV epidemic, HIV-related stigma and the resulting discrimination continue to pose some of the most significant barriers to progress towards universal access to HIV prevention, care, treatment and support. . This may take many forms throughout the world, both direct and indirect. It manifests itself in different ways at both the individual level, such as discrimination in hiring practices, to the societal level, such as the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure. The effects of it can be even more devastating than the disease itself: being shunned by family and loved ones, inadequate healthcare provision as well as depression, anxiety and other health concerns. Research, community mobilization, education, law and policy reform and action are all required to combat the effects of stigma and discrimination.
ICAD's current/past work in this area:
ICAD strives to keep its membership abreast of developments in this area by sharing information and global lessons learned via our website, information and factsheets, webinars, weekly digests and other communication materials. Most recently, ICAD has published information sheets on "Addressing HIV Risk Behaviours: A Role for Public Health Legislation and Policy" (in partnership with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network) and "Fueling the Epidemic: HIV-Related Stigma and Discrimination". ICAD is also embracing the use of social media to continue to most effectively share information on these topics with relevant networks.
- Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
- The People Living with HIV Stigma Index
- Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+)
- Health and Human Rights: A Resource Guide