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HIV & SOGI-Stigma

Increasingly, civil society, state and international organisations are recognising that – amongst other drivers – stigma on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (or ‘SOGI-Stigma’) is a key factor inhibiting effective responses to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. Here you will find some brief arguments for action around these themes, as well as some links to further resources.

This page is destined to be expanded and updated. Please feel free send any comments – or ideas for additional resources – you may have to contact the IDAHOT team at

Arguments for Action

Around the world, LGBTI people are disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Specifically, infection rates in men who have sex with men (MSM) and trans people are up to 20 times higher than in the general population. One of the main causes of this is, noticeably, the restriction of accurate and objective information on the specific drivers of HIV/AIDS for these groups, as homophobic laws, regulations and practices leave them out of necessary HIV/AIDS prevention, care, treatment and support.

In places where homosexuality is legally criminalized and/or culturally discriminated against, health services are often forced to silence all aspects of prevention for MSM and trans people who, in addition, do not dare to seek medical care and treatment, as this may lead to persecution, denial of services, detention, blackmail or violence.

Homophobic and transphobic laws furthermore, have strong indirect effects on the spread of HIV/AIDS: they increase stigma and discrimination, and they damage the self esteem of sexual and gender minorities, resulting in more exposure to risk, including unprotected sex.

The fight against homophobia and transphobia, accordingly, plays a significant role in combating the epidemic. Even with an advance of biomedical factors relating to HIV medicine, homophobia and transphobia, if not addressed, will always act the major drivers behind HIV within MSM and trans people.

Take Action!

  • Documentary and Movie Screening. Many argue that HIV/AIDS activism serves as entry point for LGBT movement activism, especially in contexts where LGBT rights are still too foreign a topic for the general public. A documentary movie showcasing LGBT activists taking the streets to demand equal health care and rights for HIV-impacted populations – many of whom are LGBT people – or, showing personal stories about the early epidemic years, may be a crucial way to shed light on intersections between HIV/AIDS and SOGI-Stigma. Our top documentary movie choices are How to Survive a Plague and We Were Here.
  • Join the IDAHOT Creative Protest working group on Facebook, where over 600 activists from around the world are already discussing their protest plans for IDAHOT and other LGBTI rights actions. It’s an informal space for networking, ideas sharing, planning and IDAHOT events posting in the lead up to the Day, and beyond.
  • Get inspired by our “Ideas for Action to conduct a creative protest around the Day.

Further Resources

  • A report by the IDAHO Committee on how organisations in the field related to the issue of stigma related to sexual orientation and gender identity
  • MSMGF‘s (The Global Forum on MSM & HIV) Publications
  • THE LANCET’s publications on MSM & HIV
  • World Bank‘s “The Global HIV Epidemics among Men who Have Sex with Men”