The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has recently awarded the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) with funding to implement the People Living with HIV Stigma Index over the next three years.
This community-led, multi-site study will be national in scope (involving B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada) and will recruit 1,200 people living with HIV. The study will provide us with key information that will allow us to:
- better understand the social determinants of HIV stigma (such as gender and socioeconomic status)
- map out HIV stigma across lifespans, contexts, and systems (including the legal system, schools, and the healthcare system)
- mobilize local and national solutions to support people living with HIV (including national media campaigns and policy change efforts).
The People Living with HIV Stigma Index provides a tool that measures and detects changing trends in relation to stigma and discrimination experienced by people living with HIV (PLHIV). In the initiative, the process is just as important as the product. It aims to address stigma relating to HIV while also advocating on the key barriers and issues perpetuating stigma - a key obstacle to HIV treatment, prevention, care and support.
Since the project began in 2008 more than 90 countries have completed the study. More than 200 PLHIV have been trained as interviewers and over 100,000 PLHIV have been interviewed. The PLHIV Stigma index questionnaire has been translated into 54 languages.
Next steps will involve hosting a National Team Meeting, as well as hiring a National Project Coordinator. People interested in following the progress of this project can check the REACH 2.0 Blog for updates or subscribe to the Newsletter.
For more information or questions please contact Dr. Francisco Ibáñez-Carrasco here.