New Global Campaign to End HIV Stigma: #ZeroHIVStigmaDay
“Human First” Theme Emphasizes Human First Dimension of People Living with and Affected by HIV
“Human First” Recognizes 75th Anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights
July 18, 2023 – (WASHINGTON, DC, USA, and LONDON, UK) – Zero HIV Stigma Day is a new international HIV awareness day whose inaugural commemoration will be July 21, 2023. The day aims to unite people, communities, and entire countries to raise awareness about and take action to end HIV-related stigma that both violates human rights and jeopardizes efforts to end the global HIV epidemic. This year’s theme, “Human First,” emphasizes the human dimension of people living with and affected by HIV and reinforces that any form of stigma encountered by people living with HIV is a human rights violation.
“Given persistent levels of HIV stigma experienced in health and other settings, IAPAC and our partners launched a new global awareness day focused on ending HIV stigma in all its forms. We can only succeed in our efforts to end the global HIV pandemic if we end the gross violation of human rights that stigma represents for people living with and affected by HIV,” said José M. Zuniga, PhD, MPH, President/CEO of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC) and the Fast-Track Cities Institute.
HIV-related stigma experienced in healthcare settings is widespread, impeding the ability of people living with and affected by HIV to access and use health services. According to UNAIDS, people living with HIV who perceive high levels of HIV-related stigma are 2.4 times more likely to delay enrolment in care until they are very ill. However, beyond the healthcare sector, HIV-related stigma is found in every area of social life – families and communities as well as educational and workplace settings, and within the justice system.
Zero HIV Stigma Day was first announced in 2022 by a consortium of multisector organizations, including IAPAC, (a global network of clinicians and allied health professionals) and NAZ (a UK-based sexual health charity), in collaboration with the Global HIV Collaborative and Fast-Track Cities Institute. Endorsing organizations include the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) and Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
July 21st was chosen to honor Prudence Nobantu Mabele (July 21, 1971 – July 21, 2017), the first woman in South Africa to disclose her HIV status in 1992. She was an activist who set a precedent for all people living with HIV to disclose and discuss their status with loved ones without shame, to seek treatment and care, and to lead happy and fulfilled lives.
“The only thing preventing us from ending all new HIV transmissions by 2030 is stigma. Normalizing HIV, delivering high quality sex and relationships education to young people, and promoting holistic care and support in bold and intentional ways is our collective responsibility. Countless activists like Prudence Mabele have shown us the power of collective voice, courage, and action to tackle HIV stigma. As we approach the first Zero HIV Stigma Day, let’s celebrate Prudence’s story as the legacy it should be,” said Parminder Sekhon, NAZ’s Chief Executive Officer.
In addition to launching a campaign brand and toolkit with social media and other creative assets, IAPAC will premiere a short documentary at 10 am ET, July 21, 2023, via the IAPAC YouTube channel, which will be housed after the premiere on the Zero HIV Stigma Day website. Human First will share lived experiences with stigma from six individuals who are either living with or affected by HIV in three countries (South Africa, United Kingdom, United States). Made possible through core funding support from ViiV Healthcare, the documentary will also feature innovative approaches to mitigate HIV stigma.
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Representing 30,000 members, IAPAC is the largest association of clinicians and allied health professionals working to end the epidemics of HIV and tuberculosis, as well as eliminate HBV and HCV, by 2030. IAPAC is also a core technical partner to the Fast-Track Cities network and the Secretariat for its Fast-Track Cities Institute. For more information about IAPAC, please visit: https://www.iapac.org/
NAZ is a minority-led HIV and sexual health agency with over 30 years grassroots experience of delivering HIV care and support and evidenced-based sexual health programs to Black and Brown and minoritized communities. Its mission is to achieve true parity in sexual health outcomes for racially minoritized communities living with and at elevated risk of HIV. For more information about NAZ, please visit: https://www.naz.org.uk/
About the Global HIV Collaborative
The Global HIV Collaborative (GHC) is a partnership of strategic global leaders and activists that strives to improve the HIV outcomes for Black communities globally. GHC works to address the current global trajectory of HIV outcomes in Black populations and seeks to prioritize the persistent issue of unequal HIV outcomes rooted in ethnic disparities. For more information about GHC, please visit: https://hiv-collaborative.org/
About the Fast-Track Cities Institute
The Fast-Track Institute supports cities and municipalities worldwide in their efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.3 (ending the epidemics of HIV and TB), the World Health Organization goal of eliminating HBV and HCV, and SDG 11 (making cities and municipalities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable). For information about the Fast-Track Cities Institute, please visit: https://www.ftcinstitute.org/