The BC People Living with HIV Stigma Index (often called the Stigma Index) is a dynamic research project in British Columbia born out of a community-identified need to turn the tide against persistent HIV stigma and discrimination. Linked to the international People Living with HIV Stigma Index initiative, it is the first community-based research (CBR) study in British Columbia to document experiences of stigma and discrimination from the perspective of people living with HIV (PLHIV). Designed by and for PLHIV, and led by PLHIV, the study data will provide information to inform better evidence-based responses to HIV and related issues, and will empower participants to have an active voice in anti-stigma and discrimination reduction initiatives.
Initiative Objectives and Goals
The objectives of this initiative are to strengthen the capacity of PLHIV involved in the project and to improve the lives of PLHIV in BC. Specifically, we aim to support people living with HIV to be Stigma Index leaders & build capacity for PLHIV to participate in research planning and partnership development; broaden our understanding of HIV stigma and examine the potential resilience factors that may buffer/reduce negative effects on health & social well-being; inform provincial/local strategies to reduce stigma and strengthen social networks; and improve programs to better meet the needs of people living with HIV and increase access to and uptake of services.
The Role of this Initiative to End the HIV Epidemic
Designed by and for people living with HIV, and led by people living with HIV, the study data will provide information to inform better evidence-based responses to HIV and related issues, and will empower participants to have an active voice in anti-stigma and discrimination reduction initiatives.
Meaningful Engagement with People with Lived Experience
Six Peer Research Associates (PRAs) used the Stigma Index survey tool (2016-2017) to gather information about experiences across the province. The side-by-side process of peer-to-peer communication proved powerful. Having researchers who are able to openly disclose their HIV status to participants was an important factor in building trust and confidence in the Stigma Index survey situation. It also increased the opportunities to illustrate the stories of stigma and discrimination.
People Living with HIV, policymakers and other key stakeholders
Related knowledge transfer and exchange (KTE) products and resources are available here: https://pacificaidsnetwork.org/training-leadership/stigma/
Related knowledge transfer and exchange (KTE) products and resources are available on the PAN site.
"But I also learn from the women after hearing their stories. I put them into practice. ‘Cause they teach me. I teach them. They learn from me." —Valérie, a BSC Collaborative member