Impact of HIV-related stigma on health behaviors and psychological adjustment among HIV-positive men and women

Peter A. Vanable, Michael P. Carey, Donald C. Blair, Rae A. Littlewood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

361 Scopus citations

Abstract

HIV-related stigmatization remains a potent stressor for HIV-positive people. This study examined the relationships among stigma-related experiences and depression, medication adherence, serostatus disclosure, and sexual risk among 221 HIV-positive men and women. In bivariate analyses that controlled for background characteristics, stigma was associated with depressive symptoms, receiving recent psychiatric care, and greater HIV-related symptoms. Stigma was also associated with poorer adherence and more frequent serostatus disclosure to people other than sexual partners, but showed no association to sexual risk behavior. In a multivariate analysis that controlled for all correlates, depression, poor adherence, and serostatus disclosure remained as independent correlates of stigma-related experiences. Findings confirm that stigma is associated with psychological adjustment and adherence difficulties and is experienced more commonly among people who disclose their HIV status to a broad range of social contacts. Stigma should be addressed in stress management, health promotion, and medication adherence interventions for HIV-positive people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-482
Number of pages10
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2006

Keywords

  • Adherence
  • Depression
  • Disclosure
  • HIV
  • Sexual behavior
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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