On March 1, UNAIDS highlights the rights of everyone to live free from stigma and discrimination with Zero Discrimination Day.
Stigma is a core component of the work at the Centre for Social Research in Health (CSRH) at UNSW Sydney, having a major impact on health outcomes for people living with blood borne viruses (BBVs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
In Australia, there are currently five national strategies addressing HIV, viral hepatitis, and STIs.
These strategies represent a coordinated response to reduce the transmission, morbidity, and mortality associated with these infections. Each strategy contains its own set of objectives, with progress monitored via a set of related indicators.
A clear objective exists within each of the five strategies to "eliminate the negative impact of stigma, discrimination, and legal and human rights issues on people’s health". However, until recently, there was no associated indicator to measure stigma and monitor the progress of these objectives.
"We are very proud to launch reports of our work on a stigma indicator for BBVs and STIs," says Professor Carla Treloar, director of CSRH. "We aim to generate greater discussion, advocacy and action to promote the rights and dignity of people affected by these infections."
The following reports outline the approach taken by CSRH to develop a stigma indicator and results from the first round of data collection in surveys of priority populations for these national strategies.