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HIV Stigma in Prisons and Jails: Results from a Staff Survey

Abstract

With numerous HIV service gaps in prisons and jails, there has been little research on HIV stigma attitudes among correctional staff. Such attitudes may undermine HIV services for inmates at risk of or infected with HIV. This HIV stigma attitudes survey among 218 correctional staff in 32 US facilities (1) provides an overview of staff’s stigma attitudes, (2) reports psychometric analyses of domains in Earnshaw and Chaudoir’s HIV Stigma Framework (HSF), and (3) explores differences in stigma attitudes among different staff types. Overall, correctional and medical staff expressed non stigmatizing attitudes toward people living with HIV/AIDS, but perceived that stigma and discrimination exist in others. Factor analyses revealed a three factor structure capturing two mechanisms of the HSF (prejudice, discrimination). Few factor score differences were found by staff type or setting. Implications for correctional HIV services and future research on HIV stigma attitudes are discussed.

Resumen

Aunque existen numerosas brechas en los servicios de VIH en las prisiones y cárceles, existe poca investigación sobre las actitudes estigmatizantes hacia el VIH entre el personal correccional. Tales actitudes pueden socavar los esfuerzos para mejorar los servicios de VIH para las personas confinadas infectadas o en riesgo de infectarse con el VIH. Este cuestionario sobre las actitudes estigmatizantes hacia el VIH entre 218 empleados correccionales de 32 instalaciones en todo los EE.UU trató de (1) proveer una visión general del nivel de estigmatización entre el personal correccional, (2) reportar los análisis psicométricos preliminares de los dominios del ‘Marco de Estima propuesto por Earnshaw y Chaudoir’ (HSF por sus siglas en inglés) y (3) explorar las diferencias en el nivel y los mecanismos de estigma entre los diferentes tipos de personal. En general, el personal correccional y médico expresó actitudes no-estigmatizantes y de apoyo con respecto a las personas que viven con el VIH/SIDA, pero perciben que el estigma y la discriminación están presentes en otros. El análisis factorial reveló una estructura de tres factores que capturó dos mecanismos del Marco de Estigma hacia VIH (prejuicios, la discriminación). Encontramos pocas diferencias en las tres puntuaciones de los factores como función del tipo de personal o el escenario organizacional. Se discuten las implicaciones para los servicios de VIH en los escenarios correccionales y las futuras investigaciones sobre las actitudes de estigma hacia el VIH.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. Prisons are operated by state correctional agencies and generally house inmates convicted of felony crimes sentenced to more than one year of incarceration. Jails are operated by county or city agencies and house inmates awaiting trial or those convicted of misdemeanors and sentenced to one year or less of incarceration. In this paper, the terms “correctional facility” or “corrections” are used generically to indicate both prisons and jails.

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Acknowledgments

This study was funded under a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse. The authors gratefully acknowledge the collaborative contributions by NIDA; the Coordinating Center, AMAR International, Inc.; and the Research Centers participating in CJ-DATS. The Research Centers include: Arizona State University and Maricopa County Adult Probation (U01DA025307); University of Connecticut and the Connecticut Department of Correction (U01DA016194); University of Delaware and the New Jersey Department of Corrections (U01DA016230); Friends Research Institute (U01DA025233) and the Maryland Department of Public Safety Correctional Services’ Division of Parole and Probation; University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Department of Corrections (U01DA016205); National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. and the Colorado Department of Corrections (U01DA016200); University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Hospital and the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (U01DA016191); Texas Christian University and the Illinois Department of Corrections (U01DA016190); Temple University and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (U01DA025284); and the University of California at Los Angeles and the Washington State Department of Corrections (U01DA016211). The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Health and Human Services, NIDA, or other CJ-DATS parties.

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Belenko, S., Dembo, R., Copenhaver, M. et al. HIV Stigma in Prisons and Jails: Results from a Staff Survey. AIDS Behav 20, 71–84 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-015-1098-7

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Keywords

  • HIV stigma
  • Prisons
  • Correctional staff
  • HIV discrimination
  • Factor analysis