Women living with HIV are especially vulnerable to discrimination because of the stigma associated with the disease, as well as their race, gender and class status. To investigate the association between self-reported HIV discrimination and health outcomes among African- American and white women living with HIV, 366 women living with HIV were recruited from HIV/AIDS clinics in Georgia and Alabama. In this cross-sectional study, participants completed an interview that assessed self-reported HIV discrimination and depressive symptomatology, suicidal ideation, self-esteem, stress, quality of life, sexual health and HIV/ AIDS related health care seeking. Nearly a sixth of the sample reported experiencing HIV discrimination. Women reporting HIV discrimination had higher mean scores for stress, suicidal ideation, depressive symptoms, number of unprotected sexual episodes; they had lower mean scores for self-esteem, and quality of life, and were more likely to have not sought medical care for HIV/AIDS. In race-specific analyses, none of the relationships between HIV discrimination and health outcomes were significant for white women. African-American women who reported HIV discrimination had higher mean scores for stress, suicidal ideation, depressive symptoms, number of unprotected sexual episodes; they had lower mean scores for self-esteem, and quality of life, and were more likely not to have sought medical care for HIV/AIDS. The findings indicated that HIV discrimination adversely affects women's mental, sexual and physical health. However, separate race-specific analyses indicated that compared to white women, African-American women were markedly more likely to experience the adverse affects of HIV discrimination. Eradication of HIV discrimination remains an important public health priority.
- HIV discrimination
ASJC Scopus subject areas