Objectives: We sought to examine the impact of treatment access on HIV stigma in Botswana 3 years after the introduction of a national program of universal access to antiretroviral therapy.
Methods: We studied the prevalence and correlates of HIV stigma in a population-based study of 1268 adults in Botswana in 2004. We used multivariate logistic regression to assess correlates of stigmatizing attitudes and a new measure, anticipated HIV stigma.
Results: Overall, 38% of participants had at least 1 stigmatizing attitude: 23% would not buy food from a shopkeeper with HIV; 5% would not care for a relative with HIV. Seventy percent reported at least 1 measure of anticipated stigma: 54% anticipated ostracism after testing positive for HIV, and 31% anticipated mistreatment at work. Perceived access to antiretroviral therapy was strongly and independently associated with decreased odds of holding stigmatizing attitudes (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.42; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.24, 0.74) and of anticipated stigma (AOR = 0.09; 95% CI = 0.03, 0.30).
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that antiretroviral therapy access may be a factor in reducing HIV stigma. Nevertheless, the persistence of stigmatizing attitudes and significant anticipated stigma suggest that HIV stigma must be a target for ongoing intervention.