Research Topic

Stigma and HIV Care in Low-and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs)

About this Research Topic

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) related stigma substantially affects low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) which are known to be the hardest hit by HIV. Despite HIV testing services and HIV treatment (antiretroviral therapy, ART) being freely available in several LMICs, HIV testing coverage is very low, early linkage to ART is low, and retention in care is not satisfactory. Stigma is a cross-cutting barrier to the entire HIV care continuum, which includes the following: HIV testing and counselling, linkage to HIV treatment, treatment adherence, retention and virological suppression. As such, HIV related stigma contributes to negative HIV care and treatment outcomes: delayed HIV diagnosis, delayed HIV treatment linkage, poor adherence, clinical, immunological and virological failure, and subsequently attrition.

The UNAIDS proposed an ambitious goal called UNAIDS 90-90-90 treatment targets in 2014, where they expect 90% of in-dividuals to know their HIV status, be able to link treatment out of those who know their status, and meet virological sup-pression out of those on antiretroviral therapy. The goal was planned to be achieved in 2020, however, several LMICs are far from achieving the target. Stigma has been consistently named as a crosscutting factor. As such, contextual studies are needed to explore the link between stigma and HIV care, and possible strategies to halt stigma.

The aim of this Research Topic is to explore the association/impact of HIV related stigma with relation to the entire HIV care continuum, and possible strategies to reduce stigma at individual, community, health service/health professionals and policy levels. Areas to be covered in this Research Topic may include, but are not limited to: HIV testing, HIV diagnosis, ART linkage, ART retention, UNAIDS 90-90-90 treatment targets or UNAIDS 95-95-95 treatment targets.

This Research Topic welcomes submissions from various Article Types including: Original Research including Clini-cal Trial, Cross-sectional Studies, Case Control Studies, Cohort Studies and Qualitative Studies; Consensus based studies including nominal group technique, Delphi methods; Policy and Practice Reviews, Rapid Reviews, Systematic Reviews, Study Protocol and Policy Briefs.

Whilst certainly not exhaustive, papers could include:
• Stigma and HIV testing— this could explore the impact of self-, public- and structural stigma on HIV testing or diagnosis or on the first UNAIDS 90
• Stigma and HIV treatment linkage— this could explore the impact of self-, public- and structural stigma on antiretroviral therapy (ART) linkage or on the second UNAIDS 90
• Stigma and retention in HIV care— this could explore the impact of self-, public- and structural stigma on ART adherence, retention in HIV care, and clinical, immunological or virological successes or on the third UNAIDS 90
• Interventions to improve HIV related stigma— this could explore frameworks, policy briefs, reviews or pro-tocols of interventions or solutions to reduce HIV related stigma at individual, community, organizational or policy levels.


Keywords: Stigma, HIV diagnosis, Antiretroviral therapy linkage, Retention, UNAIDS 90-90-90


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) related stigma substantially affects low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) which are known to be the hardest hit by HIV. Despite HIV testing services and HIV treatment (antiretroviral therapy, ART) being freely available in several LMICs, HIV testing coverage is very low, early linkage to ART is low, and retention in care is not satisfactory. Stigma is a cross-cutting barrier to the entire HIV care continuum, which includes the following: HIV testing and counselling, linkage to HIV treatment, treatment adherence, retention and virological suppression. As such, HIV related stigma contributes to negative HIV care and treatment outcomes: delayed HIV diagnosis, delayed HIV treatment linkage, poor adherence, clinical, immunological and virological failure, and subsequently attrition.

The UNAIDS proposed an ambitious goal called UNAIDS 90-90-90 treatment targets in 2014, where they expect 90% of in-dividuals to know their HIV status, be able to link treatment out of those who know their status, and meet virological sup-pression out of those on antiretroviral therapy. The goal was planned to be achieved in 2020, however, several LMICs are far from achieving the target. Stigma has been consistently named as a crosscutting factor. As such, contextual studies are needed to explore the link between stigma and HIV care, and possible strategies to halt stigma.

The aim of this Research Topic is to explore the association/impact of HIV related stigma with relation to the entire HIV care continuum, and possible strategies to reduce stigma at individual, community, health service/health professionals and policy levels. Areas to be covered in this Research Topic may include, but are not limited to: HIV testing, HIV diagnosis, ART linkage, ART retention, UNAIDS 90-90-90 treatment targets or UNAIDS 95-95-95 treatment targets.

This Research Topic welcomes submissions from various Article Types including: Original Research including Clini-cal Trial, Cross-sectional Studies, Case Control Studies, Cohort Studies and Qualitative Studies; Consensus based studies including nominal group technique, Delphi methods; Policy and Practice Reviews, Rapid Reviews, Systematic Reviews, Study Protocol and Policy Briefs.

Whilst certainly not exhaustive, papers could include:
• Stigma and HIV testing— this could explore the impact of self-, public- and structural stigma on HIV testing or diagnosis or on the first UNAIDS 90
• Stigma and HIV treatment linkage— this could explore the impact of self-, public- and structural stigma on antiretroviral therapy (ART) linkage or on the second UNAIDS 90
• Stigma and retention in HIV care— this could explore the impact of self-, public- and structural stigma on ART adherence, retention in HIV care, and clinical, immunological or virological successes or on the third UNAIDS 90
• Interventions to improve HIV related stigma— this could explore frameworks, policy briefs, reviews or pro-tocols of interventions or solutions to reduce HIV related stigma at individual, community, organizational or policy levels.


Keywords: Stigma, HIV diagnosis, Antiretroviral therapy linkage, Retention, UNAIDS 90-90-90


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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