Exploring how HIV/AIDS Organizations Combat Stigma and Discrimination Faced by the Gay, Trans, and Men who have sex with Men (GTM) Community in the Dominican Republic

Armonte Butler, Undergraduate Student Researcher, Sewanee: The University of the SouthThe Dominican Republic (DR), a “socially conservative, predominantly Roman Catholic country,” is one of five countries that account for 96% of all people living with HIV in the Caribbean region (Lavers 2015). In addition, stigma and discrimination (S&D) are manifested on self, social, and structural levels that globally hinder the gay, trans, and men who have sex with men (GTM) community from accessing employment, health services, treatment, and support. In the Dominican Republic, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a concentrated epidemic disproportionately affecting this community as well. This paper explores how two HIV/AIDS organizations, Este Amor and Union Gay, Trans, Men who have sex with men (UGTM), located in contrasting regions address stigma and discrimination faced by this community through their outreach and programming. While there are social, cultural, behavioral, and economic drivers of the epidemic in the DR, several HIV/AIDS groups in the country continue to address both stigma and discrimination allowing for HIV and AIDS prevention. By working with two organizations in the Dominican Republic, this study poses the question: What strategies, methods, and approaches are used by two HIV/AIDS organizations to address stigma and discrimination faced by the gay, trans, and men who have sex with men community?