The HIV Stigma Index is a dynamic partnership born out of a community-identified need to turn the tide against persistent HIV stigma and discrimination in BC. In this, the 5th year of the global implementation of the Stigma Index, 50 countries have completed the study, with more than 1300 People living with HIV (PLHIV) trained as interviewers and 45,000 PLHIV interviewed. It is time for Canada and BC to join this international movement. With support from the VF, the BC arm of this national study will be able to move forward to build our team first, increase the reach of the project into rural areas and hard-to-reach populations, and mentor additional PLHIVs as research leaders.
This CBR project will be the first ever Canadian study to document experiences of stigma and discrimination from the perspective of people living with HIV. This action-oriented project will translate community experiences into language decision-makers can effectively use; build a shared agenda to influence programs, services and policies; and positively impact individuals involved. The Stigma Index is both a process (of building partnerships & capacity) and an action-based research tool (building on a quantitative & qualitative questionnaire). Designed by and for PLHIV, and led by PLHIV, this project will inform better evidence-based responses to HIV and related issues at all levels, and will empower the community to take a leap forward in the struggle for freedom from HIV stigma and discrimination.
Research team: Melanie Rusch, Island Health; Andrea Langlois, Pacific AIDS Network; Andrew Beckeman, AIDS Vancouver; Charles Osborne, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS; Darren Lausher, Peer Research Associate; Jonathan Postnikoff, Research Assistant UBC; Romari Undi, Intl. Community of Women living with HIV; Sergio Rueda, Population Health Research