Zero Discrimination day: The Elimination of Stigma and Discrimination in Sexual and Reproductive Health Care

28 February, 2019


Zero Discrimination day:
The Elimination of Stigma and Discrimination in Sexual and Reproductive Health Care

In many countries, laws result in people being treated differently, excluded from essential services or being subject to undue restrictions on how they live their lives, simply because of who they are. Such laws are discriminatory—they deny human rights and fundamental freedoms.

On this day, the 2019 Zero Discrimination Day, UNAIDS is highlighting the urgent need to take action against discriminatory laws that deny human rights and fundamental freedoms and calls upon people to challenge and act against laws that discriminate in their country.

This year, Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters launched a call for papers on The Elimination of Stigma and Discrimination in Sexual and Reproductive Health Care.

The objective of the issue is to collate innovative research, programmatic, policy and rights-based analysis and thinking that addresses the drivers of stigma and discrimination in relation to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care, documents their manifestations, illustrates good practices in addressing these issues, and informs pathways towards its ultimate elimination. It includes the recognition of structural factors, such as discriminatory laws that contribute to discrimination and stigma, and hence impede access to SRH care for various populations groups.

This thematic issue aims to contribute to the realization that stigma and discrimination in SRH care are often directed towards some of the most marginalized populations. We are looking for evidence that demonstrates how such stigma and discrimination can be linked to intersectional factors such as age, disability, race, sex, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and sex characteristics, marital or other personal or social status; and or shaped by factors such as poverty and socio-economic inequalities, religion, culture, experiences of violence, immigration or refugee status, and occupation, particularly in relation to sex work.

We are calling for the recognition that, with consolidated effort, multiple avenues can be developed to challenge stigma and discrimination. For example, health care services can address stigma and discrimination through delivery methods, such as using participatory approaches, community-based accountability and monitoring. Approaches that involve working directly with vulnerable groups in the design and delivery of services can have a powerful impact.

In this themed issue, we invite research articles, perspectives, policy analysis, book reviews, commentaries that investigate and reflect upon the drivers and manifestations of stigma and discrimination in SRH care, and importantly, how those drivers can best be challenged, disrupted, and resolved.

The deadline for submission to this call is 15 March 2019 and this thematic journal issue will be published in November 2019.


Further SRHM resources on eliminating stigma and discrimination in sexual and reproductive health care: 

Earlier this year, Justice Edwin Cameron of the South African Constitutional Court sat down with Eszter Kismodi, RHM Acting Chief Executive, to discuss the importance of the statement in the decriminalization efforts and ending the unjust use of criminal law for people living with HIV globally.

Highlighted SRHM papers which call the attention to the impact of stigma and discrimination and also explore avenues for challenging discrimination:

Further thematic journal issues which are related to the subject: