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Regional Videoconference: Addressing Stigma and Discrimination of HIV/AIDS in Liberia April 2, 2009 (NACP Logo) 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Regional Videoconference: Addressing Stigma and Discrimination of HIV/AIDS in Liberia April 2, 2009 (NACP Logo) 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Regional Videoconference: Addressing Stigma and Discrimination of HIV/AIDS in Liberia April 2, 2009 (NACP Logo) 1

2 Country Context and Status HIV sentinel sero - prevalence = 5.4% (2007) Demographic and Health Survey prevalence = 1.5% (2007) [men – 1.2% ; women 1.8%] Higher in Urban areas – 2.5% Lower in rural areas – 0.8% There are 108,000 people living with HIV in Liberia 2

3 Socio-cultural Issues Polygamy Harmful traditional practices including female Genital mutilation. Inhibition among traditional leaders and elders to discuss sex and HIV openly. HIV+ people not accepted at some social gatherings (churches, weddings, community meetings). Poverty denies HIV+ positive people from accessing treatment from private health centers. 3

4 Policy Framework ILO Workplace Policy Draft law on Stigma and Discrimination awaiting approval by the Legislature. Draft National Strategy fro HIV and AIDS 4

5 Organizational strategies include: (1)Creating awareness in churches and mosques (2)Peer Group discussion targeting youth and women (3)Deliver messages in communities using dramas (4)Use media to break silence (5)Increase traditional leaders ‘understanding of HIV and AIDS. (6)Community based counseling. 5

6 Tools (1) NACP communication material against stigma and discrimination. (2) Dramas and community theaters 6

7 Interventions to Address S & D Provide information on HIV & AIDS in schools, churches, mosques and communities. Positive people organize themselves into support groups. Engage traditional leaders to remove taboos, myths and misconceptions from discussion of sex, HIV and stigma. Law against stigma pending approval from Upper House in Parliament. 7

8 Strategies used for interventions: (1)Radio talk shows is a key strategy. (2)The use of drama by artists (3)Peer group discussion is another strategy Target groups include: youth, students, women, community, religious and traditional leaders. Key partners include Government, community leaders, FBOs, UN system, and bilateral donors. 8

9 Response from members of the communities has been encouraging, but more needs to be done. Some churches and schools are still not accepting positive people. Government attempts at passing a law against stigma is good. The implementation of such a law may pose some challenges. Response from the private media has been limited. 9

10 Achievements and Successes The creation of awareness by support groups and members of PLWA organizations has worked well. There is an increasing awareness of stigma and discrimination due to interventions. Good Practices include: (a) Talk shows on radio & TV (b) Involvement of the Legislature (c ) Engaging the traditional leaders in removal of taboos, myths and misconceptions. No M & E 10

11 CHALLENGES The response to Stigma and Discrimination is faced with a number of challenges. These include: (1)Low capacity within PLWA organizations. (2)Lack of funding at the national level for activities against stigma and discrimination. (3)Widespread denial about the epidemic. 11

12 (4) Many parts of rural Liberia remain inaccessible (5) Some schools churches and mosques are not responding to messages against stigma. (6) Lack of effective communication at all levels. 12

13 Lessons Learned The establishment and activism of PLWA organizations has helped to reduce stigma and discrimination. The door to door approach of creating awareness on stigma and discrimination has helped. Traditional leaders unwillingness to discuss HIV and sex openly. Opportunity presented by international events to highlight issues related to stigma. 13

14 The Way Forward Passing and implementing a law against stigma and discrimination. Mobilizing resources for stigma and discrimination interventions. Integrating stigma and discrimination in national programs. Using traditional and religious structures to discuss issues related to Stigma. 14

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