Indexed on: 15 Aug '09Published on: 15 Aug '09Published in: AIDS and behavior
Telephone surveys with national probability samples of English-speaking adults have suggested that popular support for punitive policies toward people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) declined in the 1990s, but AIDS-related stigma persists in the United States. Our aim was to assess the prevalence and impact of AIDS-related stigma in non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic communities. A cross-sectional computer-assisted telephone-interview survey was conducted in summer 2003 with African-American, Afro-Caribbean, Haitian, and Hispanic 18-39 year-old residents of 12 high AIDS-incidence areas in Broward County, Florida. Stigma items were adopted from national surveys, but interviews were conducted in Spanish and Haitian Creole as well as in English. Stigma scores were higher than those reported for national samples, especially among Haitians interviewed in Creole. AIDS-related stigma was associated with never receiving an HIV-antibody test (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.78, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.62-0.99, P = .046), an elevated perception of HIV risk (AOR = 1.32, 95% CI: 1.01-1.73, P = .045) and a failure to participate in HIV-prevention efforts (AOR = 0.53, 95% CI: 0.34-0.85, P = .008). Interventions are needed to mitigate the pernicious effects of AIDS-related stigma.