Biennial HIV Stigma Summit
The stigma associated with HIV is alive in Louisiana and continues to impact individuals, families, and our communities. This stigma includes the negative attitudes, beliefs, and practices that motivate the general public to fear, reject, avoid, and discriminate against people living with HIV (PLWH) or vulnerable to HIV. When individuals feel stigmatized, they are less likely to seek the care and support that they need to live a healthier, happier, and more productive life.
In response to this barrier to care, LPHI’s HIV/STI team brought together representatives from a variety of perspectives to help combat this pervasive issue. After extensive planning, the first statewide Stigma Summit titled “Breaking the Walls of Silence and Shame” was held on May 9, 2014. As a result of this collaboration, the team and partners committed to making the Summit a biennial event.
On Feb. 17-18, 2016, the HIV/STI team and more than 25 partners convened the second statewide summit in Baton Rouge focused on HIV stigma and discrimination. The theme was "Moving Toward a Stigma-Free Louisiana" which highlighted current stigma reduction efforts and laid the groundwork for future statewide policy efforts in the fight against stigma/discrimination. The conference featured 18 presenters and more than 150 participants from across the state.