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What works in tackling HIV related stigma? 

The objectives of this project were to research the nature and effectiveness of stigma interventions that have taken place in the UK and internationally, and to make recommendations for improved stigma interventions that are applicable in the UK and in Europe. The main output was a briefing paper which outlined the findings of the research and set out the recommendations. 

Through the dissemination of our paper we are now working on our next objective: to campaign for the implementation of effective stigma interventions and communicate the findings of the review to people living with HIV and the wider HIV sector, so that understanding of this area can contribute to building the dialogue around HIV. 

ViiV Healthcare was the sole funder for this project and NAT received the grant for the year commencing July 2015. This enabled NAT to dedicate a proportion of the time of the Policy and Campaigns Manager to the project which commenced with the undertaking of desk based research on the topic area, and a formal call for evidence. 

The comprehensive briefing covers: basic theory of stigma, the evidence of what works in tackling stigma in different settings and recommendations for future action. This is a unique document, not only in the UK, and we think it is a necessary step in enhancing our approaches to HIV stigma. It summarises the basics of academic stigma theory and how this can be applied in real-life context. For example, the briefing paper considered the drivers for stigma, such as poor knowledge, stereotypes and cultural beliefs, and how these are affected by the socio-political context of a place.

The findings support interventions such as training and workshops in organisational settings, support for PLHIV to tackle self-stigma, and media-based campaigns that allow discussion around the topic rather than pure information-based campaigns.

A Framework for the construction of HIV Stigma, adapted from Stangl et al (2010 and 2012)