Pakistan - 2009
In Pakistan, the main implementing network for the Stigma Index in Pakistan is the Association of People Living with HIV and AIDS . At country level, a team of researchers from the Association has been working alongside with PLHIV support groups to carry out the research across the country.
The project has been developed and implemented by and for people living with HIV, closely supported from day one by the UNAIDS Pakistan Office. An advisory group supports the work with the index and consists of donors agencies, INGOs, National AIDS Control Program, and other UN agencies.
Overall, the main objective for the implementation of the initiative is to find out various forms and sources of stigma and discrimination experienced by people living with HIV in Pakistan which could provide evidence to improve policies and programmatic interventions. Through this research initiative the Association of PLHIV is in contact with the government which will be helpful in advocating for shaping future programmatic interventions and policy changes in support of people living with HIV.
Key achievements to date in 2009 include:
- The enrollment of 800 people living with HIV to complete the questionnaire and participate in the stigma index
- Support from the National AIDS Control Program (NACP) and Provincial AIDS Control Program (PACP)
- The agreement and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Association and the Population Council Pakistan, an academic research institution, in order to build the capacity of project staff in research expertise and data analysis
- Formation of a Project Core Group (PCG) and a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) that includes the Association, UNICEF, Population Council, UNAIDS and the NACP
- Translation of Material (Questionnaire & User Guide) in Local Urdu Language
Some of the challenges encountered so far include security concerns, cultural sensitiveness, and access to people living with HIV who are scattered across the country. Regular meetings are held among the core team to build consensus and teamwork towards achieving the objectives of the initiative, and to ensure the involvement and leadership of local networks of people living with HIV.
An abstract on the initial implementation of the Stigma Index in Pakistan has been approved for the oral presentation in upcoming 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP). The final Report of Stigma Index Project will be shared by the end of 2009.