Tuesday 20 March 2012

Living well: addressing stigma and social isolation

Presenters in this session at the Positive Services Forum highlighted a range of projects addressing stigma and discrimination amonst a variety of groups.

Lisa Tomney discusses the One Community campaign.
Dean Murphy (AFAO) discussed the research that underpinned the FearLessLiveMore online campaign that aims to address stigma experienced by HIV-positive gay men in sexual and social settings; reduce discrimination by HIV-negative men; and build resiliance of HIV-positive men to this stigma. Download presentation

Lisa Tomney (WA AIDS Council) discussed the One Community campaign, an anti-stigma campaign to address stigma and discrimination in all communities - gay and straight via community education and the simple action of posting a supportive message and photo online. Download presentation

Daniel Reeders discussed the way cultural understandings inform the lived experiences of stigma for refugee and migrant communities in Australia, and the challenges this presents to positive service providers working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities (CALD). Service providers need to understand  the multiple, overlapping stigmas experienced by migrants, namely: stigma as a migrant and stigma of being HIV-positive. Daniel explained how the experience of stigma is vastly different for many migrants and refugees compared with the client mix that many service providers may be more familiar with, and this manifests in a variety of ways; cultural competence training is vital as a way to help address this. Download presentation

Questions from the floor included how to respond to the broader defintion of stigma in program delivery, and questions about how to address the 'silencing' of people with HIV from CALD communities.

Michelle Wesley gave a powerful account of the experience of being a woman living with HIV, describing HIV-positive women as a tiny minority within the broader HIV community. She said there is no "HIV community" for women, who suffer greater discrimination than men. She cited numerous findings from HIV Futures Six. She also discussed the way women are virtually excluded in high-level discussions around HIV, despite making up over 50% of the HIV-positive population world-wide. For instance, only 8 of 105 paragraphs in the UN declaration mention women. She talked about many other challenges HIV-positive women face, including lack of HIV services targeting women.

Jenny Kelsall provided a fascinating insight into the experiences of older, opioid users in Australia. She identified the harm-reduction policies, including needle-and-syringe programs, as contributing to the 'unexpected' improved life-expectancy of people who inject drugs. Download presentation

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