Barbara Aranda-Naranjo PhD., RN, FAAN and  Jessica M. Xavier, MPH — Addressing Stigma— Innovative Interventions to Improve Access to and Retention in HIV Care

The need to address and reduce HIV stigma is mentioned throughout the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.  Stigma not only thwarts HIV prevention and testing efforts, but also negatively impacts access to and retention in care of people living with HIV.  Since 1990, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program’s Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS) Program has funded the implementation and evaluation of demonstration project initiatives to improve access and retention in HIV primary care.  This presentation will review the experience of SPNS demonstration projects that have addressed stigma in their interventions.

Bambi Gaddist, DrPH –30 Years A Slave “Liberating Individuals and Communities through Political and Institutional Advocacy and Empowerment

The institution of slavery has existed on nearly every continent in the world.   This industry fosters submission to a dominating force, dependency, and imprisonment of the mind.  The perpetuation of slavery requires a systematic plan of implementation by those that reap the benefits.  So too is the legacy of HIV stigma.  Its perpetuation is global and its impact can be felt throughout our communities, government and health care systems.  Eradicating HIV stigma remains our greatest challenge.  This session is designed to explore systems that must be infiltrated and strategies that must be adopted as we emancipate individuals and families impacted by HIV/AIDS.

J. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE — Stigma and Solutions: Overcoming Barriers to Treatment, Prevention, and Care

Dr. Gracia will provide a national perspective on the importance of addressing stigma in treating, preventing, and eliminating HIV – especially for our most vulnerable communities.  She will discuss the administration’s efforts to address stigma related to mental illness and HIV.

Nancy Murphy, NP, Ph.D. — Barrier to HIV Prevention: Persistent Negative Bias and Stigma Related to Treating Opioid Dependence

Despite safe and effective therapies for opioid (heroin/pain pills) dependence/addiction there continues to be persistent negative bias and stigma related to treating this condition. These negative biases come in many forms: public bias, patient bias, clinician bias and institutional bias and result in under treatment. Lack of treatment or under treatment of opioid dependence/addiction, especially for individuals who inject and share injection equipment is a barrier to HIV prevention. In light of newer, safer, office-based treatment availability with the medication Suboxone, developing strategies to counter the negative effects of the biases and stigma against opioid treatment will be discussed.

Rev Canon Gideon B Byamugisha, MA — Stigma reduction interventions that work: the perspective of FOCAGIFO, INERELA+ and The Global Working Group on Faith, SSDDIM & HIV

Scientific breakthroughs in both HIV and AIDS prevention have allowed the most at-risk-countries, most- vulnerable communities and the most AIDS affected regions to hope for zero new HIV infections, illnesses and deaths sooner than later.  However, many challenges remain in confronting, reducing and overcoming stigma and the resulting shame, denial, discrimination, inaction and miss-action (SSDDIM) that still frustrate effective utilization of available science and knowledge to achieve total freedom from this epidemic. This presentation discusses four successful interventions from the perspective of the people and communities living with and most affected by HIV.


The USAID-funded Health Policy Project (HPP) will highlight the many different ways that both quantitative and qualitative research findings on HIV-related stigma and discrimination – especially when shared through personal narrative or story telling — can have a lasting impact on policy decision makers.  The panel will discuss global evidence on stigma, including new research on measuring stigma at the health facility level, and how information-sharing on stigma can affect the policy environment, and therefore health guidelines and services.  Each panelist will share how they have addressed HIV-related stigma in their own context.  A brief discussion will follow on how evidenced-based approaches are addressing policy at the local, regional, and global level, as well as in the education and private sectors and in online communities.  HPP hopes to provide an engaged and informative space for participants to consider how to apply evidence and adapt best practices for stigma reduction to their own context.  The following speakers will participate: Nelson Varas-Diaz, Ph.D., Roger McLean, MS, Laurel Sprague, Dereje Teferi, and Regan Hoffman.


TRACK 1:  From the Gay Youth Gang Members of Chinatown to Hospital Halls: HIV, Stigma and the Lives of G/L/B/T Youth In DC

This workshop will: discuss work with GLBT youth  populations and explore reasons why they are at increased risk of HIV/AIDS infection and progression once infected; identify sources of stigma and discrimination against adolescents and explore how stigma affects disclosure of HIV status; and profile “The Check It” a gay black gang in Washington, DC.  These youth were known to frequent the Chinatown area of DC, engaging in cell phone thefts and mugging subway passengers. Challenging the often idealized minority group portrayed by the media, this group identifies bullying as the impetus to their formation.  Studies have consistently shown that gay teens are more likely to be the targets of bullying and are more likely to drop out of school and are at risk for HIV infection as a result of bullying.  Video excerpts will be included that highlight a fashion show in which “Check It” tells their story through song and dance.

TRACK 2:  Ending and Defending Against HIV Criminalization in the United States

This workshop will provide overview of the laws and prosecution policies that target people living with HIV. The workshop will include a moderated panel of experts that will provide participants with an in-depth understanding of the complex international, legal and public health consequences these laws and policies create. Participants will also learn about the various advocacy opportunities and resources available on HIV Criminalization.

TRACK 3: Mental Health

This workshop will address the impact of stigma on mental health issues.  The panel will highlight the impact of discrimination, poverty, and health disparities on the mental health of individuals, families, and communities.  Speakers will approach mental health challenges from the lens of their own work and lives, looking at individual and systemic challenges, and creating dialog about change and building stronger mental health across diverse communities.  The following four topics will be presented to the group followed by discussion time:  Stigma: When the Oppression is WORSE than Death; The Triple Whammy: Drug Abuse, Mental Health, Health Disparities and Race; Mental Health Stigma in the Military and Veterans; and a presentation from Whitman Walker Clinic.

TRACK 4: How improved health literacy and wellness can reduce stigma

Health literacy is a crucial tool in our fight against stigma. This workshop will provide insight about the level of basic HIV knowledge in an at risk community. There will be discussion about the redefinition of treatment education and how important is to broaden its scope to health literacy and be inclusive of social determinants of health, for example stigma. Models of stigma education utilizing social marketing will be presented and discussed.

TRACK 5:  Mami to Me: Forging footprints for Women of Color

Overview: This workshop will discuss the role of culture, the media, age, sex, communication, power dynamics and gendered vulnerabilities on Stigma. Panelist will discuss a number of video clips illustrating varying roles of women of color. We will explore parallels and conflicts in media depiction, internal messages in childhood and practical decisions women of color make around sex, relationships and overall health & wellness. The session will provide an opportunity for comments and questions from the audience.