AIDS conference in June in South Africa. Prejudice against particular groups – such as men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender communities – interferes with treatment regimes and people’s adherence to treatment.
These groups are also at higher risk from HIV due to increased levels of stigma, discrimination, violence and criminalisation.
Our research is part of a three-year project on HIV-related stigma linked to young people with sexual or gender diversity. The research, conducted in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia, involved 156 participants.The research identified three main findings:Criminal laws and strongly negative socio-cultural and religious beliefs produced deeply rooted intolerance around sexual or gender diversity.
Participants spoke about repeated experiences of verbal harassment, being gossiped about and physical violence.Other population groups with HIV said their lives had become more tolerable as social awareness and acceptance of HIV had increased over time.