NAZ & IAPAC launch global
#ZEROHIVSTIGMA AWARENESS DAY - uniting communities to highlight HIV stigma

21 july 2022

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21st July has been chosen as Global Zero HIV Stigma Awareness Day to honour Prudence Mabele (21 July 1971-10 July 2017), the first Black South African woman to publicly share her HIV status.

Global Zero HIV Stigma Awareness Day spearheads a global movement, uniting people, communities, and entire countries to raise awareness and take action against HIV stigma. This day is for the HIV activists that have gone before, but also for every activist that continues the fight against HIV.

 

This day of action has been conceptualised by NAZ, a UK-based sexual health charity whose services are dedicated to people experiencing better sexual health, in collaboration with IAPAC, a global network of clinicians and allied health professionals working to end HIV.  

Why do we need this global call to action?

 

Since the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic over four decades ago, 75.5 million people have acquired HIV and 32.7 million people have died from AIDS-related illnesses. Despite transformative biomedical advances, globally we are far from eradicating the virus and achieving zero new infections and zero AIDS-related deaths.  We believe many of these ongoing transmissions and deaths could be prevented if it were not for the stigma that exists within the global community toward HIV.

 

HIV stigma refers to negative attitudes, behaviours, and judgments towards people living with or at risk of HIV. HIV stigma has a destructive effect on people’s lived experiences and health outcomes and discourages people from learning about their HIV status, accessing treatment, and/or staying in care. It prevents people from living their truth, and the best and most unapologetic life that they should be living.  

 

Discrimination is driven by, and feeds on, stigma, which may be because of a person’s gender, religion, age, sexuality, or health status. Stigma may be experienced across multiple strands of society from employment, healthcare, relationships, and access to social services, all impacting quality of life and life chances. Stigma is complex and is often the result of fear, lack of awareness, power structures, socio-economic circumstances and discriminatory policies, which propagate the cycle of inequality and poor outcomes for people living with HIV globally.

Intentional and actioned allyship

HIV stigma is a social justice issue and everyone has a part to play in eliminating HIV stigma – be it talking about it, challenging biases, testing for HIV or advocacy – if societal attitudes to HIV are to be transformed.

 

In collaboration with the global community, we want to create a day of action featuring people living with HIV, activists, influencers, high-profile individuals, and organisations across all sectors. We seek collaboration in the form of time, funding, resources, engagement, and dissemination.

We intend to ignite an annual day of bold and intentional activities that:

  • Highlight HIV stigma and the impact it has on the lives of people living with HIV and those affected by HIV.

  • Highlight the intersections of stigma, shame, discrimination, and inequality. Amplifying the message that improved outcomes in sexual health and HIV can only come when we tackle stigma and inequality across society (through tackling the wider determinants of health).

  • Reinvigorate broader collaborative working. Initiating a global call to action opportunity to share the impact of stigma through community action.

  • Inform people what they can do to combat stigma, i.e., pledge, direct action, influence policy.

Find out more - www.zerohivstigmaday.org