The overall aim of AIVL’s National Discrimination Survey is to reduce stigma and discrimination, improve access to services – particularly healthcare services – and reduce social exclusion among people who inject drugs (PWID), those with hepatitis C, HIV, and/or other blood borne viruses (BBVs), and those on opioid substitution therapy (OST).
We hope this will be achieved by reporting on the incidences of discrimination and stigma in this survey; by raising the main issues that people report to service providers, and empowering people to ‘speak up’ about incidences of discrimination and stigma they feel they have experienced; when too often people feel there is very little they can do or say in response to discrimination.
The Online Discrimination Survey results presented here, now including the latest review and report on the 265 survey responses to June 2015, are from people with varied backgrounds, many experiencing different degrees of discrimination or stigma (all of which are just as valid as the each other). Some of these respondent backgrounds include: PWID, people on OST, hepatitis C, HIV, and/or other BBVs, sex workers, people with mental health issues, and people in severe pain experiencing difficulty accessing adequate pain medication(s).
These people very often manage complex situations in relation to poor treatment and discriminatory practices. It can frequently be difficult to identify the reason for the poor treatment; is it due to a history of, or recent, injecting drug use, being on OST, having hepatitis C, HIV, and/or another BBV, a combination of these issues, or something else entirely? Unfortunately the degree to which these communities have been stigmatised and demonstrably discriminated against means that all too often it is rarely a case of it being ‘something else’. This means that the information requirements of PWID, people on OST, those with hepatitis C, HIV, and/or other BBVs are not the same as for others when it comes to reporting discrimination and/or the making of, and proceeding with, complaints.
The fact that people on OST are physically dependent on their medication introduces a very real barrier and level of complexity to the undertaking of any formal complaint process, especially against an OST service outlet or provider. In such cases even the contemplation of proceeding with such action, and the inherent or perceived threat of being kicked off of their pharmacotherapy, is enough to prevent them proceeding with a complaint; the outcome of any complaint process, even a favourable outcome, is simply too risky an option when viewed against the possibility of losing access to their treatment regime.
AIVL would like to see a change to this dynamic and we strongly encourage everyone to read these survey results, but particularly:
- People who have completed the discrimination survey, to see what others have said about their own experiences;
- PWID, people on OST, those with hepatitis C, HIV, and/or other BBVs;
- Anyone working in healthcare or in an allied service providing services to PWID, people on OST, those with hepatitis C, HIV, and/or other BBVs;
- People wanting to know more about stigma and discrimination as it applies to this same group.
The survey can be found here If any services would like to obtain promotion packs to further promote both this website and the survey, AIVL have promotion packs consisting of: hard-copy surveys with reply paid envelopes, large A3 sized posters, and A5 pocket sized flyers. These can be obtained by contacting AIVL at email@example.com. Likewise, if people have any questions, comments, or feedback please contact us.