#ResistStigma – How Do We Get There?

#ResistStigma – How Do We Get There?

By Keith Reynolds | Aug 26 2016

This report is a tool which explores previous HIV campaigns so as to better have a lasting impact on People Living With HIV (PLWH) by educating readers, healthcare providers and community organizations. It will detail various community responses and health promotion campaigns while being critical of elements which are regressive. It also provides recommendations which will hopefully reframe future action to support those living with HIV and resist stigma.

Science has provided life-saving drugs to combat HIV and changed the lives of PLWH. In spite of these medical advances, the lingering effect of stigma still harms PLWH. Criminalization and sensationalistic media portrayals of people living with HIV stokes societal fear of the virus. Victim blaming and a moralistic lack of sympathy limits the responses to care while demonizing those living with the virus. Instead of treating PLWH with the respect and dignity afforded to all other people, stigma places an incredible burden on them, robbing them of their agency and humanity.

By understanding the history of HIV stigma and community responses, it is possible to combat it. However stigma is complex, it affects communities differently and because of this, no one message or campaign will be a panacea for stigma. Indeed without acknowledging this and tailoring responses to the experiences of PLWH, actions run the risk of being ineffective or worse, re-stigmatizing. Instead of telling people how they should be living or whom they should be having sex with, this report advocates collaboration with PLWH to see what their needs are. In this way, instead of perpetuating shame, society can create workable solutions which values the experiences of PLWH.

Resist Stigma: How Do We Get There?

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