A global HIV stigma reduction framework adapted and implemented in five settings in India

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This summary report presents key findings from ICRW’s evaluation study in five settings. India’s National AIDS Control Programme (NACO) recognises stigma as a key driver of HIV infection and a barrier to treatment. To inform the latest national plan, and with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) has:

  • adapted an existing global HIV stigma reduction framework for the Indian context
  • pilot tested the framework in five settings in India
  • synthesized lessons learned about the feasibility and relevance of the framework.

This summary report, published by ICRW, UNDP and STRIVE, lists activities conducted to implement and test the framework in each of the five settings:

  1. education – faculty and students of a college
  2. sex-workers organised in collectives
  3. local government – Panchayat members
  4. industry – management and workers
  5. health services – medical and non-medical staff providing care to (among others) men who have sex with men (MSM)

Findings will be of international interest as well as within India. They show that:

  • fear of infection and social judgement – two key actionable drivers of stigma in the framework – are prevalent among the different populations and need to be the focus of intervention and measurement efforts
  • it is important to work with multiple target populations in interrupting the actionable drivers of stigma
  • the framework’s inclusion of ‘intersecting stigmas’ is critical, given the nature of the epidemic in India and its focus on targeted interventions
  • two additions are important for the Indian context: the inclusion of family and peers as a distinct target population and the addition of ‘occupation’ and ‘caste’ as examples of intersecting stigma
  • using a range of activities concurrently enables a multi-level approach and maximises stigma reduction efforts
  • contact strategies are a key component for stigma reduction

The report includes recommendations for programmers, policy-makers and practitioners on scaling up interventions for national implementation.

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