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      A systematic review of interventions to reduce HIV-related stigma and discrimination from 2002 to 2013: how far have we come?

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          Abstract

          Introduction

          HIV-related stigma and discrimination continue to hamper efforts to prevent new infections and engage people in HIV treatment, care and support programmes. The identification of effective interventions to reduce stigma and discrimination that can be integrated into national responses is crucial to the success of the global AIDS response.

          Methods

          We conducted a systematic review of studies and reports that assessed the effectiveness of interventions to reduce HIV stigma and discrimination between 1 January 2002 and 1 March 2013. Databases searched for peer-reviewed articles included PubMed, Scopus, EBSCO Host –CINAHL Plus, Psycinfo, Ovid, Sociofile and Popline. Reports were obtained from the www.HIVAIDSClearinghouse.eu, USAID Development Experience Clearinghouse, UNESCO HIV and AIDS Education Clearinghouse, Google, WHO and UNAIDS. Ancestry searches for articles included in the systematic review were also conducted. Studies of any design that sought to reduce stigma as a primary or secondary objective and included pre- and post-intervention measures of stigma were included.

          Results

          Of 2368 peer-reviewed articles and reports identified, 48 were included in our review representing 14 different target populations in 28 countries. The majority of interventions utilized two or more strategies to reduce stigma and discrimination, and ten included structural or biomedical components. However, most interventions targeted a single socio-ecological level and a single domain of stigma. Outcome measures lacked uniformity and validity, making both interpretation and comparison of study results difficult. While the majority of studies were effective at reducing the aspects of stigma they measured, none assessed the influence of stigma or discrimination reduction on HIV-related health outcomes.

          Conclusions

          Our review revealed considerable progress in the stigma-reduction field. However, critical challenges and gaps remain which are impeding the identification of effective stigma-reduction strategies that can be implemented by national governments on a larger scale. The development, validation, and consistent use of globally relevant scales of stigma and discrimination are a critical next step for advancing the field of research in this area. Studies comparing the effectiveness of different stigma-reduction strategies and studies assessing the influence of stigma reduction on key behavioural and biomedical outcomes are also needed to maximize biomedical prevention efforts.

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          Most cited references 116

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          Stigma in the HIV/AIDS epidemic: a review of the literature and recommendations for the way forward.

          Although stigma is considered a major barrier to effective responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, stigma reduction efforts are relegated to the bottom of AIDS programme priorities. The complexity of HIV/AIDS-related stigma is often cited as a primary reason for the limited response to this pervasive phenomenon. In this paper, we systematically review the scientific literature on HIV/AIDS-related stigma to document the current state of research, identify gaps in the available evidence and highlight promising strategies to address stigma. We focus on the following key challenges: defining, measuring and reducing HIV/AIDS-related stigma as well as assessing the impact of stigma on the effectiveness of HIV prevention and treatment programmes. Based on the literature, we conclude by offering a set of recommendations that may represent important next steps in a multifaceted response to stigma in the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
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            HIV and AIDS-related stigma and discrimination: a conceptual framework and implications for action.

            Internationally, there has been a recent resurgence of interest in HIV and AIDS-related stigma and discrimination, triggered at least in part by growing recognition that negative social responses to the epidemic remain pervasive even in seriously affected communities. Yet, rarely are existing notions of stigma and discrimination interrogated for their conceptual adequacy and their usefulness in leading to the design of effective programmes and interventions. Taking as its starting point, the classic formulation of stigma as a 'significantly discrediting' attribute, but moving beyond this to conceptualize stigma and stigmatization as intimately linked to the reproduction of social difference, this paper offers a new framework by which to understand HIV and AIDS-related stigma and its effects. It so doing, it highlights the manner in which stigma feeds upon, strengthens and reproduces existing inequalities of class, race, gender and sexuality. It highlights the limitations of individualistic modes of stigma alleviation and calls instead for new programmatic approaches in which the resistance of stigmatized individuals and communities is utilized as a resource for social change.
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              The development of instruments to measure the work disability assessment behaviour of insurance physicians

              Background Variation in assessments is a universal given, and work disability assessments by insurance physicians are no exception. Little is known about the considerations and views of insurance physicians that may partly explain such variation. On the basis of the Attitude - Social norm - self Efficacy (ASE) model, we have developed measurement instruments for assessment behaviour and its determinants. Methods Based on theory and interviews with insurance physicians the questionnaire included blocks of items concerning background variables, intentions, attitudes, social norms, self-efficacy, knowledge, barriers and behaviour of the insurance physicians in relation to work disability assessment issues. The responses of 231 insurance physicians were suitable for further analysis. Factor analysis and reliability analysis were used to form scale variables and homogeneity analysis was used to form dimension variables. Thus, we included 169 of the 177 original items. Results Factor analysis and reliability analysis yielded 29 scales with sufficient reliability. Homogeneity analysis yielded 19 dimensions. Scales and dimensions fitted with the concepts of the ASE model. We slightly modified the ASE model by dividing behaviour into two blocks: behaviour that reflects the assessment process and behaviour that reflects assessment behaviour. The picture that emerged from the descriptive results was of a group of physicians who were motivated in their job and positive about the Dutch social security system in general. However, only half of them had a positive opinion about the Dutch Work and Income (Capacity for Work) Act (WIA). They also reported serious barriers, the most common of which was work pressure. Finally, 73% of the insurance physicians described the majority of their cases as 'difficult'. Conclusions The scales and dimensions developed appear to be valid and offer a promising basis for future research. The results suggest that the underlying ASE model, in modified form, is suitable for describing the assessment behaviour of insurance physicians and the determinants of this behaviour. The next step in this line of research should be to validate the model using structural equation modelling. Finally, the predictive value should be tested in relation to outcome measurements of work disability assessments.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Int AIDS Soc
                J Int AIDS Soc
                JIAS
                Journal of the International AIDS Society
                International AIDS Society
                1758-2652
                13 November 2013
                2013
                : 16
                : 3Suppl 2
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Global Health, International Center for Research on Women, Washington, DC, USA
                [2 ]Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA
                Author notes
                [§ ] Corresponding author: Anne L Stangl, 1120, 20th St. NW Suite 500N, Washington, DC 20036, USA. Tel: +1-202-797-0007. ( alstangl@ 123456gmail.com )
                Article
                18734
                10.7448/IAS.16.3.18734
                3833106
                © 2013 Stangl AL et al; licensee International AIDS Society

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Global action to reduce HIV stigma and discrimination
                Review Article

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