Reducing AIDS-related stigma in developing countries: The importance of theory- and evidence-based interventions
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In many developing countries persons living with HIV and AIDS experience strong stigma and discrimination, and AIDS-related stigma has an enormous negative impact on their social relationships, access to resources, and psychological well being. Moreover, AIDS-related stigma hampers HIV-related health promotion, including voluntary HIV counselling and testing. In this article, we will argue that programs to reduce AIDS-related stigma are most likely to be effective if these programs are based upon thorough needs assessments, theory- and evidence-based intervention strategies and collaborative planning. A protocol for health promotion programs design is outlined. Furthermore, psychosocial correlates of AIDS-related stigma in developing countries, social-psychological theories that might be useful in designing intervention strategies to reduce stigmatisation and successful elements of previous interventions aimed at stigma reduction are discussed. It is concluded that psychological theory does provide guidelines for the development of stigma-reducing intervention programs, but that such programs can only be effective when based upon context-specific needs assessment and collaborative planning.