Understanding intersectional stigma, uptake and retention on ART among young HIV-positive MSM and young HIV-positive transgender people in the SADC region
HEARD is collaborating with the University of Malawi, University of Zambia and University of Zimbabwe to explore the influence of intersectional stigma on uptake and retention in art programmes for selected key population groups in three SADC countries -Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This is an operational research project that, in addition to the three universities, is also being implemented with the collaboration of community organisations and networks of key populations at the local level.
Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe are three countries that have recently included HIV-positive men-having-sex-with-men (MSM) and transgender persons as priorities for enrolment and retention on anti-retroviral treatment (ART). While such moves are both appropriate and necessary, large gaps in evidence remain. Research from other regions/settings suggests that these health journeys may be difficult, particularly for HIV-positive individuals who experience overlapping or intersectional stigmas linked to HIV status, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. No similar studies have yet explored the particular dynamics of intersectional stigma and uptake and retention on ART in the SADC region. It is critical that such evidence gaps be closed.
It is expected that the study will provide evidence-informed guidance to assist stakeholders working in similar settings across the SADC region to improve uptake and retention on ART, and health outcomes more generally, for the study’s focus populations. It is also expected the capacity in participatory research and programme design will be improved across the partner institutions and LGBT implementing organisations