HIV-related stigma has been shown to undermine prevention, care, treatment, and the well-being of people living with HIV. A disproportion burden of HIV infection, as well as elevated levels of HIV-related stigma, is evidenced in sub-Saharan African (SSA) and African-diasporic populations.
This study explores factors that influence HIV-related stigma among 16- to 25-year-old youth residing in a Canadian city who identify as African, Caribbean, or Black. Stigma, as rooted in cultural norms and beliefs and related social institutions, combined with insights from research on stigma in SSA and African-diasporic populations, guided the development of a path analytic structural equation model predicting levels of HIV-related stigmatizing attitudes. The model was tested using survey responses of 510 youth to estimate the direct and indirect influences of ethno-religious identity, religious service attendance, time in Canada, HIV/AIDS knowledge, HIV-testing history, sexual health service contact, and gender on HIV-related stigma.
Statistically significant negative associations were found between levels of stigma and knowledge and HIV-testing history. Ethno-religious identity and gender had both direct and indirect effects on stigma. African-Muslim participants had higher levels of stigma, lower knowledge, and were less likely to have been tested for HIV infection than other ethno-religious groups. Male participants had higher levels of stigma and lower knowledge than women. Time in Canada had only indirect effects on stigma, with participants in Canada for longer periods having higher knowledge and less likely to have been tested than more recent arrivals.
While the strength of the effect of knowledge on stigmatizing attitudes in this research is consistent with other research on stigma and evaluations of stigma-reduction programs, the path analytic results provide additional information about how knowledge and HIV-testing function as mediators of non-modifiable characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, religion, and time in a country.
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- 1 Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology , University of Windsor , Windsor , ON , Canada.
- 2 Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health and Information Sciences , University of Louisville , Louisville , KY , USA.
- AIDS Care. 2016 Mar 17:1-6.
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