Monday, March 7, 2016

Emotional, Physical & Financial Burdens of Stigma Against People Living with HIV/AIDS in China

Numerous researches have shown pernicious effects of stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). However, no available studies have reported these negative effects including emotional, physical to financial burdens to PLWHA. 

In the current study, we aim to explore different types of stigma (e.g., perceived, internalized and enacted) and the relevant consequences among PLWHA in China. A cross-sectional study was conducted from 2012 to 2013 in the Guangxi Autonomous Region in China. The validated Berger HIV Stigma Scale was used to measure various types of stigma. We employed a series of linear, logistic and polytomous regression models to assess the association between stigma and different consequences while accounting for potential confounders for each specific model. 

Of the total sample, 2987 PLWHA provided valid responses with 63% being male and having an average age of 42.9 years. Perceived, internalized and enacted HIV stigma were prevalent among participants, and resulted in various burdens with different magnitudes in their life contexts. 

Specially, PLWHA who reported higher perceived and internalized stigma were more likely to be imposed on emotional and physical burdens (p < .05). People who reported higher enacted stigma had heavier financial burden compared to their peers (p < .05). 

Our findings revealed that devastating consequences of HIV-related stigma in China. The prevalent stigmatizing attitudes have pushed PLWHA to the fringes of society and affected them at multiple aspects in their life context. 

We call for tailored efforts to overcome stigma and discrimination against PLWHA.

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By:  Zhang C1, Li X2, Liu Y1, Qiao S2, Zhang L3, Zhou Y4, Shen Z4, Tang Z4.
1 Vanderbilt Institute of Global Health , Vanderbilt University , Nashville , TN , USA.
2 Arnold School of Public Health , University of South Carolina , Columbia , SC , USA.
3 Department of Pediatrics , Wayne State University , Detroit , MI , USA.
4 Guangxi Center for Disease Control and Prevention , Nanning , People's Republic of China.
 2016 Feb 17:1-8.

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