Getting to the Heart of Stigma Pre-conference

Wed, 27 Jul 2022

9:00am - 4:15pm [EDT]

Montreal and virtually

This pre-conference is a thought-leadership symposium seeking to present, discuss and interrogate the state-of-the-field evidence base for HIV-related stigma. It will be a platform to discuss global financial, strategic and programmatic efforts to contextualize, implement and scale up effective stigma reduction and mitigation interventions. The latest results from a global systematic review will be presented, alongside nuanced national case studies and examples of good practice, to situate the evidence base considering day-to-day realities for different communities in specific socio-cultural and policy contexts. The symposium will also feature discussions based on current policy guidelines, original global and country-level research, and political documents to guide progress on stigma reduction and mitigation around the world.

Expert speakers and participants will come from the whole spectrum of health (for example, psychology and mental health, general practice, nursing and midwifery, and sexual and reproductive health), as well as other sectors, such as education and justice. The programme will be of interest to a diverse audience, including participants from a background in policy, research, community activism, funding and grant making, politics and healthcare and people living with HIV. Coupled with the thorough context-specific review of existing evidence, this multidisciplinary and multisectoral engagement will not only amplify and accelerate attention to stigma, but is intended to broaden expert discussions about effective programming, measurement and concepts relating to stigma in ways that catalyse lateral thinking and lead to improved interventions.


The pre-conference will take place on Wednesday, 27 July.

The programme is as follows:

Session 1: Leadership, 09:00 – 10:00

The opening session celebrates the courageous individuals and interventions that effectively challenge stigma and seek redress for discrimination. This session aims to inspire greater leadership to address stigma at scale.

Session 2: State of the field evidence review, 10:15 – 11:15

The latest findings from a global systematic evidence review and progress towards consensus to guide scaled-up practical action will be presented. The comments will be framed within the context of progress, focusing on interventions and practical implications of research.

Session 3: Uniting for a common vision and acknowledging local realities, 11:30 – 12:30

This session will debate how best to move forward by better documenting processes, evaluating progress, measuring change over time and maximizing learning across disciplines so that the specific context can also inform a broader view.

Session 4: Role of partnerships in funding comprehensive responses to stigma and discrimination, 14:00 – 15:00

The session will explore the resourcing barriers and opportunities for joining up to reduce stigma at scale, including coordination between financing processes and organizations to be informed by evidence and fund strategies that work.

Session 5: Addressing stigma is not enough, 15:15 – 16:15

Looking forward, we know that addressing stigma alone is not enough and addressing HIV-related stigma (in isolation) is not enough. Frameworks and visions that seek to strengthen efforts to address stigma must resonate within the broader programmatic approaches and commitments to achieving the societal enablers targets and improving or informing programmes and advocacy. The final session will explore how the inclusion of commitments toward eliminating HIV-related stigma and discrimination within the Political Declaration agreed at the 2021 United Nations High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS for the first time also signals a conducive global political environment for action at scale.


Sessions will be interactive and include expert presentations with the opportunity to engage in discussion for those participating in person or virtually, as well as some smaller group discussions.

We are grateful to the organizing committee, which has put together a strong and interesting programme:

  • Lucy Stackpool-Moore, IAS – International AIDS Society, Switzerland and Watipa, Australia
  • Sbongile Nkosi, Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), South Africa
  • Alexandrina Iovita, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Switzerland
  • Leickness Simbayi, Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), South Africa
  • Carmen Logie, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto; Women’s College Research Institute, Women’s College Hospital and Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity, Canada
  • Laura Waters, British HIV Association (BHIVA), UK
  • Ani Shakarishvili, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Switzerland
  • James Hargreaves, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK
  • Pascal Macharia, Health Options for Young Men on HIV/AIDS/STI (HOYMAS, )Kenya
  • Erika Castellanos, Global Action for Trans Equality (GATE), The Netherlands

We hope that you can join us in Montreal or virtually and sign up to join the IAS Community of Practice for getting to the heart of stigma.