India - Tamil Nadu state 2012
The PLHIV Stigma Index study in Tamil Nadu is the first of its kind to quantify stigma and discrimination expereinced by people living with HIV in the state.
HIV prevalence in India is relatively low, an estimated 2.4 million people were living with HIV in 2008 and new infections have emerged from previously low prevalence states such as West Bengal, Orissa and Punjab.
There is still much to be done to address stigma and discrimination among PLHIV
in India. The sample for this study was drawn from Tamil Nadu, a state which has
witnessed a strong and effective response to the epidemic in terms of securing
services, mounting large scale and innovative preventive approaches, and increasing coverage. Yet the persistence of stigma is a pointer to existing gaps in the response.
We now have the evidence that stigma prevails in multiple settings and this calls for an integrated approach that addresses family, community,workplace, education and health care settings. Culturally sensitive communitylevel education is critical to diminishing the effects of social stigma, while approaches that raise consciousness about sexual identities and correspondingly that raise self esteem are necessary to address the profound feelings of shame that marginalized communities experience.