XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Vida digna: working with key populations to reduce HIV stigma and discrimination at the community level in México

C.A. Coria Mercado, J.J. Hernández Chávez, C.R. Manrique Soto, H. Pérez Vázquez

Colectivo Sol A. C, Proyecto Vida Digna, Mexico, Mexico

Issues: Stigma and discrimination (S&D) in Central-North states in Mexico are fueled by intolerance and socio-political conservatism towards sexual diversity and HIV and represent a powerful deterrent for access to prevention-care-treatment by most-at-risk populations (MARPS)
Description: Vida Digna (VD) provided technical and financial support to 18 NGO/CBOs in four Central-North states (2005-09) to change the intolerant and conservatism environment towards sexual diversity and HIV/Aids.
A participatory community assessment (2005) to identify S&D-related problems reached 313 MSM, 148 PWHIV, 223 male & female sex workers, 37 IDU and 12 non-sex worker transgenders, NGO/CBOs and other key stakeholders.
During 2006-07, a technical support action plan was created and project funding was provided to NGO/CBOs to design and implement three strategies: a) Information, Education & Communication activities on S&D for key populations (KP), mass media and general population; b) Advocacy with the Police and the health sector; and c) Participation of NGO/CBO and KP in HIV-related decision making bodies.
In 2008-09, VD reinforcement community responses through: a) institutional and local leadership strengthening; b) awareness raising and S&D reduction among health service providers, and increasing access and use of health services by KPs.
Lessons learned:
-Sustained strengthening of community systems and a reduced internalized stigma are effective strategies that help modify unfavorable environments by reducing S&D against MARPs.
-Meaningful participation and advocacy of NGO/CBO/KPs in decision making bodies allow community members to play a part in HIV-decision making bodies.
Next steps: VD is now transferring effective methodologies and lessons learned to Atlacatl-Vivo Positivo in El Salvador, who are locally adapting the Project with 5 NGO/CBOs working with transgender people, gay men and other MSM, sex workers and PWHIV.

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