Self-stigma, also known as internalised stigma, is a global public health threat because it keeps people from accessing HIV and other health services. By hampering HIV testing, treatment and prevention, self-stigma can compromise the sustainability of health interventions and have serious epidemiological consequences. This review synthesised existing evidence of interventions aiming to reduce self-stigma experienced by people living with HIV and key populations affected by HIV in low-income and middle-income countries.
Significant resources have created strong ‘test and treat’ programs globally. What about those who test HIV negative? How can we strengthen linkage of HIV-negative individuals to prevention programs in ways that work for them?
INTRODUCTION: HIV self-testing (HIVST) provides couples and individuals with a discreet, convenient and empowering testing option. As with all HIV testing, potential harms must be anticipated and mitigated to optimize individual and public health benefits.
Conventional HIV testing services have been less comprehensive in reaching men than in reaching women globally, but HIV self-testing (HIVST) appears to be an acceptable alternative. Measurement of linkage to post-test services following HIVST remains the biggest challenge, yet is the biggest driver of cost-effectiveness. We investigated the impact of HIVST alone or with additional interventions on the uptake of testing and linkage to care or prevention among male partners of antenatal care clinic attendees in a novel adaptive trial.
For people who may have been exposed to HIV, knowledge is critical to making informed decisions about their future. An HIV test is a serious event with potentially serious outcomes. But no matter the result, the test provides vital information.
With men remaining largely under-tested, the Unitaid-funded HIV Self-Testing Africa (STAR) Initiative has launched a campaign targeting men at transportation hubs, such as taxi ranks and bus stops, in order to raise awareness about and distribute self-test kits to those who are unaware of their HIV status.
Of no surprise to those in the HIV field, the epidemic continues to be fueled by stigma, none more evident than among key and mobile populations, such as people who inject drugs and sex workers. Speakers at the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society conference shared their experiences in working with these groups and challenged participants to view them as people – and not merely a public health problem.