Stigma, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder

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Reducing stigma and discrimination has been at the forefront of Jamaica’s national response to HIV for several years. One week ago today, in Kingston Jamaica, we presented some recommendations for how the capacity of healthcare workers could be improved so that stigma and discrimination experienced by people living with and vulnerable to HIV are reduced at point of care.

Stigma – like beauty – is in the eye of the beholder. Change starts with each one of us, knowing and being honest about our beliefs, prejudices, and morals. A training to address stigma among healthcare workers for example must be transformative – to tap into personal beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviours that are the drivers of stigma. In other words training must not be ‘business as usual’ and in fact have a ‘sparkle’ that can engage the hearts as well as the minds of participants.

Continue reading “Stigma, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder”

HIV Science: IAS 2017

thumb_logo_2It’s been an extraordinary week for HIV science. An extraordinary week for the HIV response. The 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) in Paris has come to an end, with nearly 8,000 researchers, advocates, policy makers, funders and community leaders from more than 140 countries.

Here’s a quick summary of the headlines from the conference, according to the International AIDS Society…

Continue reading “HIV Science: IAS 2017”

Want to reduce stigma? Move a building!

IMG_8402 copyConstruction, urban planning and stigma reduction to ensure access to medicine for people living with HIV are not obviously linked. Yet in one part of South Sudan, space and the layout of buildings may in fact be key for enabling more people to test and receive the life saving treatment they need if diagnosed positive for HIV.

I listened today to a healthcare worker talk about the sites where a potential client at his facility – in one of the regions of South Sudan – may experience stigma or discrimination during a typical journey to test for HIV.  Continue reading “Want to reduce stigma? Move a building!”

A different type of ball: Reducing teenage pregnancies through soccer

IMG_8212One of the best things about being a lady in Uganda is that you are the in charge of a home; as an adolescent you are trained to have a high sense of responsibility and critical decision making skills. A typical day is to wake up and prepare for school, and prepare the little ones (young brothers, sisters, cousins) as well. After school is a routine of house chores and home work.

Raising a lady in Africa also includes tackling gender biases that are seconded by the myths and misconceptions surrounding areas of sexual reproductive health. Take for instance that a girl cannot shake hands with other people during menstruation or that a girl cannot ride a bike or play soccer because it may affect her virginity.

Having spent time at three Grassroot Soccer centers over the last few weeks, my view has completely widened on how sport and gender can bring about gender equity and influence mindsets to reduce the transmission rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted illnesses as well as unintended pregnancies amongst adolescent girls and young women. Continue reading “A different type of ball: Reducing teenage pregnancies through soccer”

Meet a scholar: Prudence Chavula, Malawi

IMG_8157My name is Prudence Chavula and I come from Malawi. Growing up in a community that doesn’t support girls education has taught me to value education as the only thing that can empower and transform a female’s life. 

I consider myself an agent of change, committed to the regeneration of my community and addressing the needs of my community. I am passionate about promoting education for all, especially among women and to reduce inequalities, prevent HIV transmission, end child marriages and reduce unplanned pregnancies. With that in mind, I do a number of philanthropic activities in my community. 

Continue reading “Meet a scholar: Prudence Chavula, Malawi”

Happy zero discrimination day!

March 1 is a day celebrating everyone’s right to live a full life with dignity regardless of age, gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, skin color, height, weight, profession, education, and beliefs.

Happy zero discrimination day one and all! This day could also be considered one for acceptance, open-mindedness, and celebration of diversity.  Continue reading “Happy zero discrimination day!”

All in a name: inequality & inequity

img_4954If you turn to the person sitting near you right now and had to explain the difference between inequality and inequity, what would you say?  Continue reading “All in a name: inequality & inequity”