The aim of this study is to develop an indicator of stigma among priority groups identified by the five national strategies addressing blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections, including men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, people living with HIV, people living with viral hepatitis (B and C) and people who engage in sex work. The indicator will be included in existing routine surveys of people who inject drugs and men who have sex with men, and in new surveys of people living with HIV and hepatitis C. A mirrored indicator will also be included in a new survey of health care providers to monitor the expression of stigma.
In Australia, there are currently five national strategies addressing HIV, viral hepatitis, and sexually transmissible infections. 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. These reports outline the approach taken by the Centre for Social Research in Health to develop a stigma indicator and results from the first round of data collection in surveys of priority populations for these national strategies.