A Marketplace of Ideas for Tackling Stigma and Social Exclusion


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When the South Asia Development Marketplace for innovative ideas to tackle stigma and discrimination relating to HIV/AIDS was launched in November 2007 by the HIV/AIDS Group in the South Asia Region of the World Bank and its partners, civil society groups across South Asia sent in almost a thousand proposals.

People fear HIV/AIDS because of the association with sex, drugs, illness, and death.  In South Asia, the epidemic is driven largely by high risk practices – buying and selling sex, injecting drugs, and unprotected sex among men having sex with men.  This compounds the fear and stigma around HIV/AIDS, as sex workers, injecting drug users, and men having sex with men are already stigmatized.

Not only in South Asia, but around the globe, efforts to prevent new HIV infections and allowing people with HIV/AIDS to live without the burden of social exclusion are severely hampered by the persistence of stigma.  One study in India shows that 36% percent of students, faculty and technical staff of the public health services felt it would be better if HIV-positive individuals killed themselves and believed that infected people deserved their fate; 34% would not associate with people with AIDS; 42% believed that those with HIV should be quarantined; and, 31% favored barring infected students from college classes (Ambati, Ambati & Rao, 1997).

But the problem goes beyond the personal impact on individuals and their families.  By driving underground those most at risk of infection and those living with the virus, stigma and the resulting discrimination makes it difficult to provide preventive and treatment services that are needed to break HIV transmission (e.g., HIV testing, condoms, clinical treatment for sexually transmitted infections and HIV, and needle exchange for injecting drug users).  This further fuels the epidemic. 

For those living with HIV, stigma is a problem in three ways.  First, if concern about social and professional rejection makes people fearful to learn their HIV status, efforts to offer testing will be less effective and they will continue to spread their virus unknowingly.  Second, if those who know they are HIV positive fear stigma and rejection, they might refrain from using condoms with their regular partner – often their spouses – to avoid the risk that the partner will suspect that they are living with HIV. Third, positive mothers have been known to refrain from obtaining the health care they need because they fear that if neighbors learn that they are HIV positive their ability to continue to earn a living–or their children’s ability to continue in school and play with their friends – will be threatened.

Dealing with stigma is not easy, but what better way than to ask civil society groups for their ideas on how to do it, and then choosing the best ones in the marketplace of ideas. The winners of the Development Marketplace were announced in Mumbai on May 15, 2008. Twenty-six civil society organizations from across South Asia won grants of US$40,000 each to try out innovative ideas to reduce stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS.   The well-known Indian actress and social activist Shabana Azmi presented the awards, noting that “this initiative is a small but very important step in the fight against stigma and discrimination.” The Marketplace was sponsored by the Government of Norway, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, UNAIDS, UNICEF, and the World Bank and IFC.

For more information on the World Bank's fight against HIV and AIDS, please visit the World Bank HIV and AIDS website.




Join the Conversation

May 14, 2009

In ordinary consciousness HIV infected are associated with drug addicts, prostitutes and homosexuals. As representatives of these groups, habitually are open to criticism and charges of immoral conduct. Discrimination is reflected in the abuse and charges, denial of employment and educational institutions, and sometimes assistance. As a result, many HIV positive people are losing friends, work, home, and this is not because the danger to others, but because of their disease is considered to be “indecent" or "deserved."

Lewis A.
April 27, 2009

Social stigma is severe social disapproval of personal characteristics or beliefs that are against cultural norms. Social stigma often leads to marginalization. In addition, it may also affect the economic aspect of living.A lot of people are looking to start saving money. Well, CNN has some easy tips to start saving money, and they are simple and very smart. First, pay cash for groceries instead of using a debit card. It sets a concrete limit on funds, and if you keep under budget, it's almost like a payday loan to yourself. Another tip is to use a scooter in lieu of a car for short trips. They are electric, have little upkeep and don't cost much to get. Another good one is to bring your own wine to restaurants. You'll pay for corkage, but a $20 bottle with $5 corkage beats a $40 bottle of theirs. What gets leftover can be used for debt relief if you start saving money.

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May 04, 2009

this is very infortunate i hope things turn up

February 16, 2009

It is often stated or implied that if we can break down 'stigma' we can transform users' position in society, their opportunities and wellbeing.

April 25, 2009

Recently I heard that in some jails the prison where tortured and some of them where injected with HIV/AIDS blood whenever. But many of us might wonder, what is waterboarding? It is said that Waterboarding is a form of "enhanced interrogation," otherwise known as torture. It involves placing a person on a downward sloping board and pouring water over their upturned face so as to persuade a feeling of drowning, in order to get information to the person who is suspected. The damage it can cause takes more than an online cash advance to undo. President Obama has issued an executive order to the effect that those CIA officers having partaken won't be prosecuted, which critics’ claim has damaged our national security and human rights image abroad. Many people would give installment loans to settle the debates over installment loans – torture or not. I feel very disappointed to the person who used this kind of brutal way just to cross-examine a suspected person.

German Dude
March 05, 2009

There has always been a mist around some subjects like homosexuals, HIV and prostitution. Nobody wants to get ill or to recognize their sexual preferences if these are not in the limits considered normal by the society. Still, we have a sex shop at every corner, pornography has never been more developed and people in general are as weird as can be.

March 01, 2009

"Dealing with stigma is not easy, but what better way than to ask civil society groups for their ideas on how to do it, and then choosing the best ones in the marketplace of ideas."
As you said..dealing with the stigma is not easy....!!Make your own idea..
this is only my opinion....Hectic Capiznon Bloggers 2009

Antoine T
January 15, 2009

It's unfortunate that these kinds of stigmas exist. Personally, I've lost a friend to AIDs, unfortunately, it was due to the outside pressures from having the infection rather than the infection itself.

water damage
March 21, 2009

The concept of stigma is necessary to develop an understanding of experiences of social exclusion, but it is not sufficient to grasp the whole picture, nor to identify what practical steps need to be taken to promote social inclusion. Stigma consists of three related problems

доверительное управление
March 13, 2009

>Twenty-six civil society organizations from across South Asia >won grants of US$40,000 each to try out innovative ideas to >reduce stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS.

40k - not bad

last minute
March 23, 2009

Hello Mariam,

I think that psychological nature of the problem is that people will never be treating HIV positives as normal people. And epidemiological goal is to take measures to prevent the widespread of diseases by teaching people from young age how not to get infected.


caderea parului
March 30, 2009

Changes in the market place (both in the spheres of production and consumption) give rise to an increase in levels of crime and disorder and, also, a problematisation of order itself. Rules are more readily broken but also more regularly questioned.