HIV Stigma Index Report 2019
The Kingdom of Eswatini is firm in its goal to eradicate stigma and discrimination in all its forms and at all levels. The results from this report reflect on the experiences and the feelings of People Living with HIV in the country. The assessment of the manifestations of stigma, discrimination and human rights violations against People Living with HIV in the Kingdom of Eswatini contributes
to the efforts to generate evidence and strategic information to inform programming and ensure focussed interventions at all levels.
This report is a second following the first one released in 2011. It is the work of People Living with HIV, in their diversity, across the four regions of the country. Even though there were some population groups underrepresented among those interviewed, but the report provides lessons to guide our policies and programmes on HIV and AIDS. We learn from this report that about 1 in 10
of the respondents reported to have experienced stigma and discrimination. This is a sign that we are in the right direction, but we still need to deepen our effort to end AIDS epidemic by 2022. The country has embraced the human rights principles of equality and non-discrimination. We must stop all forms of prejudice that labels other persons as socially unacceptable. Consequently, these individuals fear they will be discriminated against or judged negatively if their HIV status is revealed and this perpetuates the transmission of HIV. Internalized stigma can lead to feelings of shame, fear of disclosure, isolation, and despair and these feelings can keep people from getting tested and treated for HIV. Stigma remains a major barrier to e accessing health care and quality of life.
The vision of ending AIDS as a public health threat is upon all of us. By taking necessary action within our spheres of operation we will contribute to the national vision. The words and actions we use in our everyday life can contribute to eradicating stigma and discrimination. Let us adopt supportive behaviours and talk about HIV openly to promote a conducive environment for all.
Misconceptions on HIV must be corrected to promote positive behaviour towards each other. Let us be mindful about how we talk about HIV and address People Living with HIV.