Investigators from the University of Alabama at Birmingham have developed a new conceptual framework highlighting how unique dimensions of individual-level HIV-related stigma might affect the health of those living with HIV. According to the paper’s authors, little is known about the mechanisms through which stigma leads to worse health behaviors or outcomes.
The conceptual framework suggests that individual-level dimensions of HIV-related stigma operate through interpersonal factors, mental health, psychological resources and biological stress pathways.
“Those living with HIV often fight fear and experiences of HIV-related stigma, affecting their quality of life and mental health, as well as engaging poorly in their HIV care and treatment,” said Janet Turan, Ph.D., professor in the UAB School of Public Health Department of Health Care Organization and Policy. “Our proposed conceptual framework for individual-level dimensions of stigma and potential individual and interpersonal mechanisms explains how stigma affects each individual’s HIV-related health.”
HIV-infected individuals may be judged by others to be in marginalized social groups, causing social stress because of their minority social position, which could lead to important implications for their health.
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