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The Zimbabwe People Living With HIV Stigma Index Research Report

Publication year: 
2014
Abstract:

In February 2013, the Stigma Index Research Advisory Board commissioned Impact Research International Zimbabwe (IRiZ) to carry out the Stigma Index for Zimbabwe study. The study was a ground-breaking research endeavour in Zimbabwe aimed at understanding the nature, experiences, and rates of HIV-related stigma and discrimination at a national level, subsequently providing an evidence base that will ultimately lead to implementation of more effective programmes aimed at reducing HIV-related stigma and discrimination as well as ensuring the Meaningful involvement of People Living with AIDS (MIPA) principle is enshrined in local, regional and national responses to HIV.

Overall, the study suggests that while HIV programming in Zimbabwe has focused on HIV Prevention, Treatment Care and Support, there is still a gap with regards to HIV related stigma and discrimination. PLHIV still experience different forms of stigma and discrimination which include being gossiped about, exclusion from social, religious and family activities, verbal and physical abuse among other things. HIV related stigma is reported to be still evident in the workplace, educational institutions, and also in the health institutions. However, there is evidence that some PLHIV suffer from self-stigma, which has affected the decisions and choices that they make. While HIV stigma and discrimination still needs to be addressed, it is commendable that Zimbabwe has made strides in terms of provision of services such as VCT, ART, PMTCT as evidenced by the number of people who reported to be on treatment, and also to have received pre and post-test counselling. In addressing HIV related stigma and discrimination, those responsible for HIV programming should consider addressing self-stigma, community mobilisation against stigma, lobbying for equitable health service provision, and lastly transforming the national response and working together to ensure that HIV related services are accessible, available and of an optimum required quality.