For close to the 37 years, HIV has been one of Uganda’s highest burden infectious diseases causing both mortality and morbidity in varying proportions. By 2016, Uganda had an HIV prevalence of 6.2% among adults aged between 15-49; an estimated 1.3 million adults and 96,000 children living with HIV (UNAIDS report 2016, UPHIA 2016-2017). The government of Uganda continues to work with several donors, collaborating institutions and civil society organizations to provide lifelong treatment. Out of the 1.3 million PLHIV, 1.1 million are accessing ART. Despite the great success of enrolment of many PLHIV on treatment, stigma and discrimination remains a structural barrier to HIV prevention efforts.
As part of the national effort to address stigma and discrimination, NAFOPHANU has continued to rally several Government ministries, Civil Society Organizations (CSO), Community-Based Organizations (CBO) and funding agencies like UNAIDS, Embassy of Ireland and Population Council to lead country-wide efforts to reduce HIV related stigma through several social behavioral interventions including, knowledge sharing, capacity building, advocacy at policy level and research about HIV related stigma. The execution of the serialized PLHIV stigma index studies to determine forms and trends in HIV stigma and inform programming is another key strategy which NAFOPHANU has spearheaded over the last seven years. The strategies targeted; policy reforms, advocacy for improved HIV related services, capacity building, stigma reduction interventions and mobilization of beneficiaries and stakeholders to practice and/or promote positive living.
In 2019, with support from the Embassy of Ireland through the Prevention of HIV&AIDS in Communities of Karamoja (PACK) Project, NAFOPHANU implemented the 2019 People Living with HIV Stigma Index survey reaching 1398 People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in 9 regions of Uganda covering 21 districts. The Stigma Index (SI) is a quantitative survey in which PLHIV are both the interviewers and the respondents. These experiences are for the last 12 months.