AIDS and Behavior

, 13:1178 | Cite as

AIDS-Related Stigma Among Black and Hispanic Young Adults

  • William W. Darrow
  • Julie E. Montanea
  • Hugh Gladwin
Original Paper


Telephone surveys with national probability samples of English-speaking adults have suggested that popular support for punitive policies toward people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) declined in the 1990s, but AIDS-related stigma persists in the United States. Our aim was to assess the prevalence and impact of AIDS-related stigma in non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic communities. A cross-sectional computer-assisted telephone-interview survey was conducted in summer 2003 with African-American, Afro-Caribbean, Haitian, and Hispanic 18–39 year-old residents of 12 high AIDS-incidence areas in Broward County, Florida. Stigma items were adopted from national surveys, but interviews were conducted in Spanish and Haitian Creole as well as in English. Stigma scores were higher than those reported for national samples, especially among Haitians interviewed in Creole. AIDS-related stigma was associated with never receiving an HIV-antibody test (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.78, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.62–0.99, P = .046), an elevated perception of HIV risk (AOR = 1.32, 95% CI: 1.01–1.73, P = .045) and a failure to participate in HIV-prevention efforts (AOR = 0.53, 95% CI: 0.34–0.85, P = .008). Interventions are needed to mitigate the pernicious effects of AIDS-related stigma.


Ethnic groups Health promotion HIV infection Racial disparities Social discrimination 



Our Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) 2010 community demonstration project was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number U50/CCU422194 with the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A brief overview of this study was presented as Poster MoPeD3949 at the XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, on July 12, 2004. The contents of the poster and this article are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.


  1. 1.
    Herek GM. Thinking about AIDS and stigma: a psychologist’s perspective. J Law Med Ethics. 2002;30:594–607.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Herek GM, Capitanio JP. AIDS stigma and contact with persons with AIDS: effects of direct and vicarious contact. J Appl Soc Psychol. 1997;27:1–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Herek GM, Glunt EK. An epidemic of stigma: public reactions to AIDS. Am Psychol. 1988;43:886–91.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Herek GM. AIDS and stigma. Am Behav Sci. 1999;42(7):1106–16.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Herek GM, Capitanio JP. Public reactions to AIDS in the United States: a second decade of stigma. Am J Public Health. 1993;83:574–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Brimlow DL, Cook JS, Seaton R, editors. Stigma and HIV/AIDS: a review of the literature. Rockville: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services; 2003.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Capitanio JP, Herek GM. AIDS-related stigma and attitudes toward injecting drug users among Black and White Americans. Am Behav Sci. 1999;42:1148–61.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Herek GM, Capitanio JP, Widaman KF. HIV-related stigma and knowledge in the United States: prevalence and trends, 1991–1999. Am J Public Health. 2002;92:371–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Steele CB, Melendez-Morales L, Campoluci R, DeLuca N, Dean HD. Health disparities in HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases, and tuberculosis: issues, burdens, and response, a retrospective review, 2000–2004. Atlanta: Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2007.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Janssen RS, Holtgrave DR, Valdiserri RO, Shepherd M, Gayle HD, De Cock KM. The serostatus approach to fighting the HIV epidemic: prevention strategies for infected individuals. Am J Public Health. 2001;91:1019–24.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Levi J. An HIV agenda for the new administration. Am J Public Health. 2001;91:1015–6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Holtgrave DR. When “heightened” means “lessened”: the case of HIV prevention resources in the United States. J Urban Health. 2007;85:648–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV-related knowledge and stigma—United States, 2000. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2000;49:1062–4.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Update to racial/ethnic disparities in diagnoses of HIV/AIDS—33 states, 2001–2005. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2007;56:189–93.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Herek GM, Capitanio JP. Conspiracies, contagion, and compassion: trust and public reactions to AIDS. AIDS Educ Prev. 1994;6(4):365–75.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Herek GM, Mitnick L, Burris S, et al. Workshop report—AIDS and stigma: a conceptual framework and research agenda. AIDS Public Policy J. 1998;13:36–47.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Herek GM, Capitanio JP, Widaman KF. Stigma, social risk, and health policy: public attitudes toward HIV surveillance policies and the social construction of illness. Health Psychol. 2003;22:533–40.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Darrow WW, Montanea JE, Fernández PB, Zucker UF, Stephens DP, Gladwin H. Eliminating disparities in HIV disease: community mobilization to prevent HIV transmission among Black and Hispanic young adults in Broward County, Florida. Ethn Dis. 2004;14(3 suppl 1):S1-108–16.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Hlaing WM, Darrow WW. HIV risk reduction among young minority adults in Broward County. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2006;17(2 suppl):159–73.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hosmer DW, Lemeshow SL. Applied logistic regression. 2nd ed. New York: Wiley; 2000.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    LaPorte YJ. AIDS at 25—communicating awareness and prevention. Soc Mar Q. 2006;12:50–1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Weiss MG, Ramakrishna J, Somma D. Health-related stigma: rethinking concepts and interventions. Psychol Health Med. 2006;11(3):277–87.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Klein SJ, Karchner WD, O’Connell DA. Interventions to prevent HIV-related stigma and discrimination: findings and recommendations for public health practice. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2002;8:44–53.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Heijnders M, Van Der Meij S. The fight against stigma: an overview of stigma-reduction strategies and interventions. Psychol Health Med. 2006;11(3):353–63.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Brown L, Macintyre K, Trujillo L. Interventions to reduce HIV/AIDS stigma: what have we learned? AIDS Educ Prev. 2003;15:49–69.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Johnny L, Mitchell C. “Live and Let Live”: an analysis of HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination in international campaign posters. J Health Commun. 2006;11(8):755–67.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Link BG, Phelan JC. Conceptualizing stigma. Annu Rev Sociol. 2001;27:363–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Parker R, Aggleton P. HIV and AIDS-related stigma and discrimination: a conceptual framework and implications for action. Soc Sci Med. 2003;57:13–24.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Cohen DA, Wu S-Y, Farley TA. Cost-effective allocation of government funds to prevent HIV infection. Health Aff (Millwood). 2005;24:915–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV prevention strategic plan: extended through 2010. Available at: Accessed November 13, 2008.
  31. 31.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. World AIDS Day—December 1, 2006. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2006;55:1269.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Wilson P, Wright K, Isbell MT. Left behind—Black America: a neglected priority in the global AIDS Epidemic. Los Angeles: Black AIDS Institute, 2008. Available at: Accessed: October 24, 2008.
  33. 33.
    Cohen DA, Wu S-Y, Farley TA. Comparing the cost-effectiveness of HIV prevention interventions. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2004;37:1404–14.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • William W. Darrow
    • 1
  • Julie E. Montanea
    • 1
  • Hugh Gladwin
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Robert R. Stempel College of Public Health and Social WorkFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Public Opinion ResearchFlorida International UniversityNorth MiamiUSA

Personalised recommendations