Globally, stigma and discrimination impede HIV prevention, testing and treatment efforts. Yet research by ICRW and others shows that stigma and discrimination can be reduced in different contexts, such as the community and health facilities, thus contributing to the success of HIV programs and services.
India’s National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) recognizes HIV-related stigma as a key challenge to controlling the epidemic. With support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and in collaboration with NACO, ICRW designed and tested a strategic framework and implementation guidelines for stigma reduction in multiple settings in India. The framework built on one previously developed by a global working group made up of stigma experts and led by ICRW. The framework for India identifies key entry points for stigma-focused programming and measurement.
ICRW also provided technical support to select organizations in applying the framework and guidelines for stigma reduction. ICRW then collected data on the organizations’ experiences in applying the tools and used the information to finalize the strategic framework and implementation guidelines. The final tools as well as study outcome was widely disseminated to guide policymakers and practitioners in addressing HIV-related stigma and discrimination at the local and national levels.
Overall, ICRW found that the global framework was relevant to the Indian context and feasible for use by organizations and institutions in guiding stigma-reduction program development, implementation and measurement. Learning from the pilot interventions offers guidelines for broader implementation.