SASI’s new Report, HIV Stigma Study in the Deep South: Descriptive Findings, documents HIV-related stigma in the Deep South by surveying persons living with HIV at HIV medical care facilities and social services organizations in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. HIV-related stigma, particularly internalized stigma, was found to be associated with negative health care outcomes, which has implications for quality of life, mortality, and the spread of HIV.
Among other findings, the study found that persons with higher internalized stigma were more likely to have missed a medical appointment in the last 6 months, to report poorer medication adherence, and to not have an undetectable viral load. These findings add to the growing evidence of the need to address stigma to improve the well-being of individuals living with HIV and to reduce HIV transmission.
SASI also released two tables related to the literature around HIV-related stigma. The first table, Stigma Intervention Review Summary (2003-2015), summarizes literature reviews that examine interventions designed to reduce HIV-related stigma. Significant gaps in types of interventions, populations studied, and research methodologies remain.
The second table, Interventions to Address HIV-Related Stigma: Literature Summary, describes articles in peer-reviewed journals that discuss evidence-based interventions to reduce HIV-related stigma. The studies are predominantly conducted in the US and include interventions to reduce stigma at the intervention level, at the community level for health professionals, and at multiple levels including individual and group level.
Stay tuned as SASI releases further analysis related to its HIV Stigma Study. SASI will also be working on adapting existing stigma reduction interventions and/or creating new strategies that are suited to the culture of the Deep South and to advocating for resources for the implementation of these programs.