AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 525–534

At the Edge? HIV Stigma and Centrality in a Community’s Social Network in Namibia

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10461-012-0154-9

Cite this article as:
Smith, R.A. & Baker, M. AIDS Behav (2012) 16: 525. doi:10.1007/s10461-012-0154-9


Social network analysis was used to examine the relationship between HIV/AIDS stigmatization, perceived risk, and centrality in the community network (via participation in community groups). The findings from respondents in Keetmanshoop, Namibia (N = 375) showed an interaction between stigma and risk perceptions\hose who perceived higher HIV risk and stronger HIV stigma participated in fewer community groups and participated in groups with members who participated less widely across the network. In contrast, those who perceived higher HIV risk and weaker HIV stigma participated more, and were in community groups that are located on a greater share of the paths between entities in the network. Taboo, secrecy, resistance, knowing a person living with HIV/AIDS, and desire for diagnosis secrecy were also related to centrality. Findings suggest that the interaction of perceived HIV risk and HIV stigma are related to structural-level features of community networks based on participation in community groups.


StigmaSocial networkCentralityPerceived riskParticipation

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication Arts & Sciences, Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, & Methodology CenterThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.College of CommunicationThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA