The fight against stigma: an overview of stigma-reduction strategies and interventions

Psychol Health Med. 2006 Aug;11(3):353-63. doi: 10.1080/13548500600595327.


In many health conditions, people are severely affected by health-related stigma and discrimination. A literature review was conducted to identify stigma-reduction strategies and interventions in the field of HIV/AIDS, mental illness, leprosy, TB and epilepsy. The review identified several levels at which interventions and strategies are being implemented. These are the intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational/institutional, community and governmental/structural level. Although a lot of work has been carried out on stigma and stigma reduction, far less work has been done on assessing the effectiveness of stigma-reduction strategies. The effective strategies identified mainly concentrated on the individual and the community level. In order to reduce health-related stigma and discrimination significantly, single-level and single-target group approaches are not enough. What is required is a patient-centred approach, which starts with interventions targeting the intrapersonal level, to empower affected persons to assist in the development and implementation of stigma-reduction programmes at other levels.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Prejudice*