WAD 2023 | Stigma-Free: We call for stigma-free integrated services –Video

Back to the "News" list

This World AIDS Day, in the frame of our ongoing Stigma-Free campaign, we are launching a video of interviews from HIV experts stressing why we must focus the HIV response on ending stigma and discrimination and alleviate their impact on the mental health and wellness of communities affected by HIV.


On the side of EACS 2023 conference, EATG invited people with lived experience from the field of HIV to be the voices of the #StigmaFree campaign. We aimed to represent the voices and concerns of people living with HIV and community, HIV and mental health community workers and HIV clinicians.


Mario Cascio, (EATG Member / NPS Italia), shared how

living with HIV all your life and carrying the burden of HIV stigma and discrimination and other intersecting stigmas are certainly a source of psychological distress. Community-based organisations have historically played an important role in supporting people suffering from loneliness and internalised stigma. A synergy with other mental health services will be key in addressing the emerging complexity of psychosocial needs of people living with HIV, especially now that many start approaching older age.


Daniel Simões, (EATG Member / Coalition PLUS / GAT), highlighted why

it is crucial to increase collaboration between all stakeholders, in order to ensure that a wide range of mental health prevention and support services are available for people living with HIV in multiple contexts, with different levels of differentiation – from peer support to psychotherapy and psychiatry – so that people can easily access the services which are adapted to their needs, in a comfortable environment.


Marta Boffito, (Chelsea and Westminster Hospital / Imperial College), stressed that

addressing HIV-related stigma and discrimination is essential for the world to achieve the goal of ending new HIV diagnoses by 2030 and to achieve the 4th 95% UNAIDS goal to ensure a good health related quality of life to all people living with HIV. Health care professionals, third sector organisations and people living with HIV should work together to ensure that strategies to support the life and the ageing processes of people living with HIV, such as mental health and HIV services integration, peer support, etc. are implemented to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV.


The video is available to stream online

The campaign aims to raise awareness among health care professionals and community around intersectional stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV and affected communities and the impact it has on their mental health and health outcomes. In addition, we aim to contribute towards the recognition and integration of non-medicalised services and peer-led programmes in the response to mental health issues affecting people living with HIV.


Calls to Action


The Stigma-Free HIV & Mental Health Campaign calls on HIV and mental health professionals, trained lay workers and people living with HIV to:



Health is about wellness or quality of life, about both physical and mental health, not just freedom from disease but about enjoying life. There is no health without mental health.

Mental wellness involves a lifelong process to build and strengthen our psychosocial resources. It includes prevention, managing, coping, and being resilient in the face of life’s stresses.



Each person living with HIV and mental health challenges may experience stigma and discrimination from healthcare professionals, lay workers and volunteers. This may relate not only to their specific health concern but also to other intersecting aspects of who they are, e.g. their race or ethnicity, sex, gender, religion, or socioeconomic background.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ensures full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, including people who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments (Article 1).


Ensure CONTINUING HIV & MENTAL HEALTH EDUCATION for all professional and lay workers in this field.

All professional and lay workers who provide HIV and mental healthcare provision need to understand the interaction between physical and mental health. They also need appropriate skills, e.g., on stigma-free service provision, screening for common mental health conditions, psychosocial support, harm reduction, gender-related issues, and self-care/help/management.

Continuing education also needs to address the need for updated guidelines for mental health practitioners on HIV, as well as for updated guidelines on HIV for mental health practitioners.


Collaborate to ensure people living with HIV receive INTEGRATED HIV & MENTAL HEALTH CARE.

HIV and mental health services are provided in hospitals, specialist clinics, primary care, and community-led services. Each level of health care has its part to play. Throughout their life course, people living with HIV need these services to work together, with strong two-way referral pathways.

Achieving the aims of the Global AIDS Strategy 2021-2026: End Inequalities. End AIDS requires the integration of HIV into all systems for health, social protection, and humanitarian and pandemic responses. The Strategy calls for 90% of people living with HIV and people at risk, to be linked to people-centred and context-specific integrated services by 2025.


Access the campaign

Get involved

Are you living with HIV/AIDS? Are you part of a community affected by HIV/AIDS and co-infections? Do you work or volunteer in the field? Are you motivated by our cause and interested to support our work?


Stay in the loop and get all the important EATG updates in your inbox with the EATG newsletter. The HIV & co-infections bulletin is your source of handpicked news from the field arriving regularly to your inbox.