AN INSIGHT INTO ORGANIZATIONAL HIV STIGMA & DISCRIMINATION
Defining organizational-level HIV stigma
Organizational HIV stigma is stigma or discrimination that occurs during interactions that people living with HIV have with institutions, such as workplaces, health services and religious or educational institutions (e.g., schools, colleges, etc.). Organizational stigma can also include anticipation of stigma and discrimination.
These interactions are often with a person’s doctors, dentists, healthcare professionals, teachers, religious leaders and tutors - interactions that should feel safe and secure, as opposed to stigmatizing.
HIV stigma and discrimination in healthcare
The fact that stigma and discrimination can impact willingness to be tested and/or seek care for HIV has been observed in many settings and is recognized by both the World Health Organization and UNAIDS as a barrier.
People living with HIV report experiencing stigma within the healthcare setting and from healthcare professionals. That’s why it is now widely accepted that, to improve access to healthcare services in the wider community setting, social stigma must be tackled.
Research has shown that healthcare professionals in some countries may seek to minimize contact with people living with HIV, delay or deny them treatment, demand additional payment for services and/or isolate people living with HIV from other patients.
Our work toward combating organizational stigma
Our industry-leading Positive Action programs, initially created by GSK and now run through ViiV Healthcare, have been tackling HIV stigma for more than 20 years - working with communities most vulnerable to HIV with efforts spanning innovations in HIV care services, including initiatives aimed at preventing HIV, building capacity in grassroots communities and addressing HIV stigma and discrimination.
Through Positive Action Challenges, Community Strategic Initiatives and Breakthrough funding streams, we identify and fund innovative strategies to link priority populations to stigma-free services.
In collaboration with Implementation Science we seek to understand which interventions are effective in addressing HIV-related stigma in healthcare settings.
Through partnerships and campaigns, we are actively contributing to fighting HIV stigma and discrimination. Launched in June 2020, Gareth Thomas started the Tackle HIV campaign in partnership with ViiV Healthcare and the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) after hearing firsthand how deeply stigma and self-stigma affect people living with HIV. ViiV Healthcare is also an active participant in the THT Back to Work program, supporting people living with HIV to reintegrate them into the world of work.