Heart of Stigma

AIM: To consolidate and enhance existing knowledge on HIV-related stigma in an effective, scalable and catalytic manner.

"Information is power. The more we know and understand about stigma, and what we are up against, the easier it will be to fight it." – Kate Thomson, Head of the Community, Rights and Gender Department, The Global Fund


IAS – the International AIDS Society – recognizes that stigma is a major impediment to the collective response against HIV.

To be successful in responses to HIV, we must engage, challenge and change hearts and minds to remove stigma. In 2019, the IAS Annual Letter explained that the mistreatment of people living with or vulnerable to HIV is inconsistent with the human values to which all of us should be striving. Among other recommendations, the letter called for new funding to scale up research to build robust evidence to inform effective and context-appropriate stigma-mitigation initiatives.

In 2020, the IAS launched Heart of Stigma to consolidate the evidence base in order to enhance our collective knowledge on HIV-related stigma and the effectiveness of stigma-mitigation efforts. Specifically, this work focuses on consolidating the evidence base on efforts to measure HIV-related stigma at the individual level (self), in healthcare facilities (service) and within laws and policies (structures).

In connecting evidence with action, the IAS also seeks to position existing knowledge on HIV-related stigma in the context of lived realities in four focus countries: Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Zambia. It also collaborates with experts in these focus countries to enhance and contribute localized examples of stigma-reduction efforts with a robust global evidence review.