Under Project SOAR, in 2016-17, a diverse working group with representatives from the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), the International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW), UNAIDS, and United States Agency for International Development USAID updated the People Living with HIV Stigma Index. In 2018, this collaborative, consultative process culminated in the new tool, Stigma Index 2.0, which now includes enhanced questions about stigma in health care settings, validated scales to assess internal stigma and mental health, and additional measures to probe about stigma experiences due to membership in marginalized communities (such as sex workers or sexual minorities). The Dominican Republic was the first country to field the original Stigma Index in 2008, and stakeholders expressed interest in fielding the updated survey once it was made available and translated into Spanish. SOAR oversaw implementation of the Stigma Index 2.0 in 2018-19.
Stigma Index 2.0 was fielded by the two largest people living with HIV (PLHIV) networks in the Dominican Republic, Alianza Solidaria para la Lucha Contra el VIH y SIDA (ASOLSIDA) and Red Dominicana de Personas que Viven con VIH/SIDA (REDOVIH). More than 800 community members participated from six provinces throughout the country, including men who have sex with men, female sex workers, and PLHIV of Haitian descent. This was the first Spanish-language implementation of the updated tool.
The results of Stigma Index 2.0 in the Dominican Republic shed light on the substantial stigma encountered by PLHIV in that country, including the perspectives of marginalized, key populations whose experiences have not previously been documented. REDOVIH and ASOLSIDA have been leading efforts to disseminate findings and advocate for policies and programs to mitigate stigma among PLHIV in that country.