Associations between social capital and HIV stigma in Chennai, India: considerations for prevention intervention design

AIDS Educ Prev. 2009 Jun;21(3):233-50. doi: 10.1521/aeap.2009.21.3.233.


Stigma against persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) is a barrier to seeking prevention education, HIV testing, and care. Social capital has been reported as an important factor influencing HIV prevention and social support upon infection. In the study, we explored the associations between social capital and stigma among men and women who are patrons of wine shops or community-based alcohol outlets in Chennai. We found that reports of social capital indicators were associated with reduced fear of transmission of HIV/AIDS, lower levels of feelings of shame, blame and judgment, lower levels of personal support and perceived community support for discriminatory actions against PLHA. Specifically, when participants reported membership in formal groups, perception of high levels of collective action toward community goals, high norms of reciprocity between neighbors and residents in daily life, and presence of trusted sexually transmitted disease care providers, all levels of measures of stigma were lower. Although we defined social capital rather narrowly in this study, our findings suggest that seeking partnerships with existing organizations and involving health care providers in future interventions may be explored as a strategy in community-based prevention interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Consumer Advocacy
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • India
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Program Development / methods*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stereotyping*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult