AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 12–26 | Cite as

Understanding HIV-Related Stigma Among Women in the Southern United States: A Literature Review

  • Caroline K. Darlington
  • Sadie P. Hutson
Substantive Review


Societal stigmatization of HIV/AIDS due to assumptions about transmission and associated behaviors plays a substantial role in the psychosocial well-being of people living with this chronic illness, particularly for women in traditionally conservative geographic regions. Known for social conservatism, the Southern United States (US) holds the highest incidence rate of HIV infection in the US. A systematic search of four databases was used to identify 27 relevant scientific articles pertaining to HIV-related stigma among women living with HIV/AIDS in the Southern US. These studies revealed a rudimentary understanding of stigma sources, effects, and stigma-reduction interventions in this population. Due to the cultural specificity of stigma, further differentiation of stigma in discrete sectors of the South as well as a dialogue about the moral implications of stigma is necessary to lay the groundwork for patient-centered interventions to mitigate the destructive effects of stigma experienced by women in this region.


Stigma HIV/AIDS South Women’s health Discrimination Health disparities 



The first author would like to acknowledge the Chancellor’s Honors Program and the Nursing Honors Program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

For this type of study formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of NursingUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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