Stigma reduction in adolescents and young adults newly diagnosed with HIV: findings from the Project ACCEPT intervention

AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2014 Oct;28(10):543-54. doi: 10.1089/apc.2013.0331. Epub 2014 Sep 12.


This article describes the influence of a group-based behavioral intervention for adolescents and young adults newly diagnosed with HIV (Project ACCEPT) on four dimensions of HIV-related stigma-personalized stigma, disclosure concerns, negative self-image, and concern with public attitudes about people with HIV-as measured by the Berger HIV Stigma Scale. Stigma was addressed in a holistic manner during the intervention by providing HIV/AIDS-related information, facilitating the acquisition of coping skills, and providing contact with other youth living with HIV in order to improve social support. Fifty youth (28 male, 22 female; mean age=19.24 years) newly diagnosed with HIV from four geographically diverse clinics participated in a one-group pretest-posttest design study whereby they received the intervention over a 12-week period, and completed assessments at baseline, post-intervention, and 3-month follow-up. Results from the combined sample (males and females) revealed overall reductions in stigma in three dimensions: personalized stigma, disclosure concerns, and negative self-image, although only the combined-sample effects for negative self-image were maintained at 3-month follow-up. Gender-specific analyses revealed that the intervention reduced stigma for males across all four dimensions of stigma, with all effects being maintained to some degree at the 3-month follow-up. Only personalized stigma demonstrated a decrease for females, although this effect was not maintained at the 3-month follow-up; while the other three types of stigma increased at post-intervention and 3-month follow-up. Findings are discussed in terms of gender specific outcomes and the need for a different type of intervention to reduce stigma for young women.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • HIV Infections / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prejudice
  • Program Evaluation
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Self Concept
  • Social Isolation / psychology
  • Social Stigma*
  • Social Support
  • Stereotyping*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult