The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe is partnering with AIDS organization in a research aimed at identifying the main causes of HIV and AIDS stigma and discrimination in the country.

AIDS organizations in an effort to eliminate stigma and discrimination in the country have embarked on a national research aimed at finding out the causes of stigma which they have named the Zimbabwe Stigma Index Research.

AIDS related stigma and discrimination refers to the prejudice, negative attitudes, abuse and maltreatment of people living with HIV and AIDS.

These negative attitudes result in those living with the disease being shunned by family, peers and the wider community.

“As an Anglican church we are committed to ending stigmatization of those living with HIV and AIDS. To show that commitment one of the organizations involved here is the US, formerly the United Society for the Proclamation of the Gospel which is an organisation I worked for before I became Bishop. So as an Anglican Mission agency we partnered with AIDS organisation to do this kind of work here in Zimbabwe,” Head of the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA), Bishop Chad Gandiya, told RelZim at Dema growth point at the weekend, where AIDS organizations were launching the Zimbabwe stigma index research.

The National stigma index coordinator, Tonderai Chiduku, said it had been discovered that stigma and discrimination on people living with HIV and AIDS was derailing efforts to eradicate the pandemic.

“For the country to reach universal Access on HIV and AIDS we need to know how stigma is affecting AIDS services .We need the statistics so that policy makers enact informed policies and that can only be done if there is evidence in the form of data to that effect,”Chiduku said.

Zimbabwe is targeting to increase the acceptance levels to 60 percent among men and 75 percent among women by 2015.

Latest statistics show accepting levels towards people living with HIV and AIDS among the general population stands at 39 percent among men and 40 percent among women.