“Stigma And Discrimination-Free Zones”: An Innovative Approach to Engaging the Private and Public Sectors in Creating More Inclusive Environments for Key Populations in Central America (TUPED509)


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Central America’s HIV epidemic is concentrated in key populations (KPs): men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender women (TW), and female sex workers (FSW). Despite existing HIV laws and policies that respond to KP’s specific needs, there is evidence of widespread discriminatory attitudes and practices towards these populations, and stigma and discrimination continue to be important barriers to accessing HIV services and care. In 2016, under the USAID Combination Prevention Program for HIV in Central America, the Pan American Social Marketing Organization (PASMO) designed an intervention entitled “stigma and discrimination-free zones” as part of a broader initiative known as Generation Zero, contributing to the goal of “getting to zero discrimination.” PASMO developed guidelines and works with public and private sector institutions, companies, and other organizations to meet five criteria that would allow them to become “stigma and discrimination-free zones”: 1) A commitment letter to complete the accreditation process, 2) An internal action plan and system for reporting cases of S&D, 3) An internal employee committee responsible for follow-up, 4) Training and sensitization of staff in human rights, sexual and reproductive rights, gender, masculinities, sexual diversity, HIV/AIDS, S&D and gender-based violence; and 5) An updated HIV, S&D workplace policy. PASMO provides the technical assistance to meet the criteria and facilitates the training and sensitization sessions in coordination with other Generation Zero partners, such as local National AIDS Programs.