Measuring AIDS stigmas in people living with HIV/AIDS: the Internalized AIDS-Related Stigma Scale

AIDS Care. 2009 Jan;21(1):87-93. doi: 10.1080/09540120802032627.


AIDS stigmas create significant barriers to HIV prevention, testing, and care and can become internalized by people living with HIV/AIDS. We developed a psychometric scale to measure internalized AIDS-related stigmas among people infected with HIV. Items were adapted from a psychometrically sound test of AIDS-related stigmas in the general population. Six items reflecting self-defacing beliefs and negative perceptions of people living with HIV/AIDS were responded to dichotomously, Agree/Disagree. Data collected from people living with HIV/AIDS in Cape Town South Africa (n=1068), Swaziland (n=1090), and Atlanta US (n=239) showed that the internalized AIDS Stigma Scale was internally consistent (overall alpha coefficient=0.75) and time stable (r=0.53). We also found evidence in support of the scale's convergent, discriminant, and criterion-related validity. The Internalized AIDS-Related Stigma Scale appears reliable and valid and may be useful for research and evaluation with HIV-positive populations across southern African and North American cultures.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Eswatini / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Georgia / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Male
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Social Support
  • South Africa / epidemiology
  • Stereotyping*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires