As the City of West Hollywood moves forward with implementing its HIV Zero Strategic Plan, the City’s Social Services Division is seeking feedback from the community about stigma experienced as a result of HIV status.
The City has launched an online survey, which is available at www.weho.org/hivzero. Residents and members of the community, regardless of HIV status, are encouraged to provide input, which will be helpful to the City in implementing its HIV Zero plan. This is the third wave of the HIV and stigma survey which is administered as part of the HIV Zero plan implementation process. Community members are encouraged to take part in the survey even if they have completed a survey as part of a previous wave.
A goal of the survey is to understand how stigma impacts access to care and overall health and wellness. Stigma and discrimination are potentially the most difficult aspects of HIV/AIDS to address. For people living with HIV, stigma is related to negative psychosocial, physical and mental health issues such as social isolation, anxiety, and depression. Among HIV-negative gay and bisexual men and transgender women, sexual orientation-based stigma can negatively affect mental health, coping skills, and willingness to disclose sexual orientation, which impacts healthcare, access to screenings and preventative medicine. The prejudice and discrimination resulting from HIV stigma can be overt, such as barriers to healthcare coverage or employment termination, or subtle, such as social exclusion. A goal of the HIV Zero Strategic Plan is to build an inclusive community that supports underserved groups and honors the contributions made by people living with HIV.
HIV/AIDS has had a significant impact on the City of West Hollywood and, as early as the mid-1980s, the City was one of the first government entities to provide social services grants to local HIV/ AIDS organizations. The City of West Hollywood’s HIV Zero Strategic Plan embraces a vision to “Get to Zero” on many fronts: Zero new infections. Zero progression of HIV to AIDS. Zero discrimination. Zero stigma.
For additional information about the City’s HIV Zero Strategic Plan, please visit www.weho.org/hivzero.
Watch “Getting to Zero” on the City of West Hollywood’s WeHoTV YouTube channel to learn more about the City of West Hollywood’s HIV Zero vision: https://youtu.be/LAR-pqY6CyY.