Pretoria: POLICY Project, University of Pretoria, Centre for the Study of AIDS, 2006. p. 246 p.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic is a health problem in which the disease impacts not only on the physical health of individuals, but also on their social identity, making it different from most other fatal diseases. It was first associated with gay men, drug users and sex workers, individuals and groups already carrying the burden of societal stigmatisation. This created conditions to further marginalise and violate rights, and most importantly, to create perceptions that HIV/AIDS was a problem of 'others'. In South Africa this had a further racial dimension. Although the epidemic was first identified in white gay men, it subsequently became seen as a disease of black people, reinforcing racism and notions that black people were immoral and promiscuous.Although much progress has been made in putting programmes in place to prevent new HIV infections and to mitigate the impact of the epidemic, including a comprehensive ARV programme, much of this work is hampered by stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS. The Siyam'kela Project, a joint project of the USAID-funded POLICY Project, the Centre for the Study of AIDS at the University of Pretoria and the Chief Directorate: HIV and AIDS and TB in the National Department of Health, was set up to explore and understand HIV/AIDS stigma in South Africa. The Project focused on three key areas which it believed could play a role in challenging stigma in South Africa: faith-based organisations and communities, government workplaces and the media. The Project also aimed to develop indicators of stigma which could be used in multiple settings and which would assist with measuring the impact of stigma mitigation efforts. Subsequently it has focused on developing interventions to address stigma, one of which is this resource pack.As a result of its experiences in working with HIV/AIDS stigma, the Siyam'kela Project felt it would be useful to develop a Stigma Resource Pack (SRP) to create awareness about stigma and inform stigma mitigation efforts. The SRP is aimed at trainers, opinion leaders, people living with HIV or AIDS (PLHA), community leaders/members, and anyone interested in getting information on HIV/AIDS stigma and how to reduce stigma in their field of work or community. There are a number of tools, which can be used for different purposes. We have tried to make the resource pack as flexible as possible. The SRP is also in line with the government's intention to develop a national stigma strategy.The SRP provides information on stigma, advocacy and lobbying and human rights, and includes guidelines, recommendations and best practices. It is also possible to simply use the SRP as background reading and to get informed. Fact sheets are available to supplement workshops or as a standalone resource to hand out to individuals and communities who may want to take information home with them.
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