Correlates of HIV stigma in HIV-positive women

Arch Womens Ment Health. 2010 Jun;13(3):207-14. doi: 10.1007/s00737-010-0158-2. Epub 2010 Apr 7.


We examined the variables associated with HIV stigma in HIV-positive women currently living in Ontario, Canada. Based on previous literature, we predicted that variables of social marginalization (e.g., ethnicity, income, education), medical variables (e.g., higher CD4 count, lower viral load), and increased psychological distress would be associated with higher perceived HIV stigma among HIV-positive women. One hundred fifty-nine HIV-positive women between the ages of 18 and 52 in Ontario completed self-report measures of the aforementioned variables. Women were recruited through 28 AIDS service organizations, eight HIV clinics, and two community health centers. In multiple regression analyses, for women born in Canada, lower educational level and higher anxiety were associated with higher HIV stigma. For women born outside of Canada, having been judged by a physician in Canada for trying to become pregnant was associated with higher HIV stigma. For HIV-positive women born outside of Canada, negative judgment by a physician regarding intentions to become pregnant should be addressed to reduce perceived HIV stigma and vice versa. Health care providers should be trained in the provision of sensitive and effective health care for women living with HIV, especially when providing reproductive health care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Ontario
  • Pregnancy / psychology*
  • Prejudice*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology*
  • Viral Load