Mediators of HIV-related stigma and risk behavior in HIV infected young women

AIDS Care. 2009 Nov;21(11):1455-62. doi: 10.1080/09540120902883069.


Stigma in HIV positive persons has been associated with numerous negative sequelae, including decreased social support, depressive symptoms, and engagement in risk behaviors. Few studies examined the interrelationships of these factors to facilitate understanding of the mechanisms by which HIV stigma influences risk behavior, thus the current study focuses on identifying pathways between HIV-related stigma and risk behavior in 147 young HIV positive women. Depression and social support were hypothesized to mediate between HIV-related stigma and risk behavior. Structural equation modeling was used to test these hypothesized pathways, results suggested that depression was a significant mediator between HIV-related stigma and risk behavior. Implications for interventions with young HIV positive women who report high levels of HIV-related stigma include a focus on depression as a method of reducing engagement in risk behavior and improving mental health and health behaviors in persons living with HIV.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Depressive Disorder / etiology*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Risk-Taking
  • Social Support
  • Stereotyping*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Unsafe Sex / psychology
  • Young Adult