March 14, 2024

GPC Key Population CoP Webinar| How can we effectively address stigma in key populations programmes? (Morning session)

Key populations
Introduction

The pervasive issue of HIV-related stigma, marked by negative attitudes and discriminatory behaviours, has been a significant barrier to achieving optimal health outcomes for key populations (KP). These populations notably include sex workers, men who have sex with men (MSM), people who inject drugs (PWID), transgender individuals, and prisoners. For these groups, stigma magnifies the challenges they face in accessing crucial healthcare.

In the GPC's KP Community of Practice (CoP) webinar, we directly addressed this stigma issue, with a particular focus on its impact on KP programmes. Through a global lens, the webinar underscored transformative experiences and effective strategies for the integration of stigma reduction interventions into these programmes. This initiative aimed to offer a comprehensive understanding of the importance and effectiveness of tackling stigma within KP programs, making significant strides towards a more inclusive healthcare environment.

Objectives
  • Provide a comprehensive overview of proven strategies effective in reducing stigma within key population programmes.
  • Summarize available guidance and best practices for implementing these interventions.
  • Facilitate a platform for countries to share practical experiences in effectively combating stigma against key populations.
  • Encourage participants to share their significant insights and takeaways from the session.
Proceedings

The session began with welcoming remarks from Tim Sladden of UNFPA, who emphasized the significance of addressing the stigma experienced by key populations. He also set forth the primary objectives for the session.

Anne Stangl from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) then discussed evidence-based interventions for reducing stigma against key populations, providing a strong foundation for participants. Daughtie Ogutu from the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) and Erica Spielman from WHO followed with a comprehensive presentation, synthesizing existing guidance on addressing stigma and outlining the latest WHO guidance on evidence-based interventions.

The session later transitioned its focus to a country practice exchange segment. Here, various speakers and facilitators offered insights into country-specific strategies to address stigma among key populations (KPs).

In the main room, Dr. Katayoun Tayeri from Iran served as the speaker with facilitation by Jeffrey O'Malley from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Two breakout rooms were also in action: In Breakout Room 1, the speaker was Dr. Magreth Kagashe from Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) ,and Simone Salem facilitated the session from the Global Partnership. In Breakout Room 2, the discussion was led by Ray Natthakarn Laohacharoensombat from Thailand, with facilitation by Dr. Heather-Marie Schmidt from UNAIDS and WHO.

Sindy Matse from the Ministry of Health, Eswatini, Anna Shapiro from Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP), and Matteo Cassolato from Global Fund shared their key learnings from the webinar. They emphasised the importance of evidence-based interventions and underscored the need for practical strategies to address HIV-related stigma.

Resources

The recording and presentation from this session can be accessed below.

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