Leaders Should Establish Resources, Interventions To Combat Stigma Associated With HIV/AIDS, Letter to Editor Says
If leaders from the U.S. and other countries "want HIV/AIDS programs to be effective, more resources and interventions must be put in place to combat the stigma" associated with the disease, Geeta Rao Gupta, president of the International Center for Research on Women, writes in a Washington Post letter to the editor in response to a recent Post article.
First lady Laura Bush correctly "pointed out" in the recent article that the "stigma attached to having AIDS is an enormous barrier to fighting Africa's pandemic," Gupta writes. She adds, "Stigma and discrimination reduce the effectiveness of billions of dollars spent on HIV/AIDS programs because infected people are often reluctant to avail themselves of these services."
To address the lack of a "concrete set of tools to effectively identify and tackle stigma," ICRW, the Academy for Educational Development and other partners have developed a tool kit that provides strategies and practical skills for communities affected by the disease, local media and health care providers "to reverse the devastating effect that the stigma has on people infected with and affected by HIV and AIDS," Gupta writes. She concludes that such "efforts will go a long way in battling AIDS" (Gupta, Washington Post, 7/2).