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Assessing HIV/AIDS Stigma in South India: Validation and Abridgement of the Berger HIV Stigma Scale

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HIV-related stigma has been associated with depression, poor adherence, and nondisclosure of HIV-positive status, all of which can lead to increased transmission of HIV and poorer health outcomes for HIV-infected individuals. The Berger HIV Stigma scale has been used in multiple settings but never adapted and validated in India, home to the world’s second largest HIV-infected population. We assessed the reliability and validity of a Tamil translation of the original 40-item scale, and conducted confirmatory and exploratory factor analyses to assess cultural appropriateness and abbreviate the scale. Reliability and validity were high (alpha = 0.91; test–retest reliability ICC = 0.89). Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis resulted in an abridged 25-item version of the scale that possessed better psychometric properties than the 40-item version. This culturally validated, abridged HIV-Stigma scale can be used in busy clinical settings to identify individuals in need of psychosocial support and assess post-intervention changes in stigma in Southern India.

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This project was funded by a grant from the Puget Sound Partners for Global Health (Award #26145) with additional support for LEM from the University of Washington Center for AIDS Research (National Institutes of Health P30 AI27757). The authors would like to thank Betsy Feldman for helpful statistical discussions and Katherine Murray for manuscript preparation assistance. The authors are also grateful to the leaders of the Indian Network of Positive Persons, the Positive Women’s Network and the Pushes Network for providing access to HIV-positive persons affiliated with their networks, and to the men and women who participated in this study.

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Correspondence to Lisa E. Manhart.

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Jeyaseelan, L., Kumar, S., Mohanraj, R. et al. Assessing HIV/AIDS Stigma in South India: Validation and Abridgement of the Berger HIV Stigma Scale. AIDS Behav 17, 434–443 (2013).

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