Little is known about weight stigma among people living with HIV (PLWH). This study examined whether levels of perceived weight stigma experiences and internalization, assessed retrospectively and naturalistically, differed among adults with obesity based on HIV status. 50 PLWH (BMI = 35 kg/m2) and 51 adults without HIV (BMI = 36 kg/m2) completed retrospective assessments of lifetime perceived weight stigma experiences/internalization. Next, participants were invited to complete an optional 2-week Ecological Momentary Assessment study. 28 PLWH and 39 adults without HIV completed five momentary assessments of perceived weight stigma experiences/internalization daily. In covariate-adjusted models, PLWH reported 1.2–2.8 times lower frequency of lifetime and momentary perceived weight stigma experiences than adults without HIV, but levels of retrospectively- and naturalistically-assessed internalized weight stigma did not differ between groups. Findings suggest that HIV status may buffer against perceptions of weight stigma events, but not internalized weight stigma, highlighting weight stigma as an important area for future research in PLWH.
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We wish to thank study participants for devoting their time and energy to participate in this research as well as our research team for assisting with data collection, including Bianca Obiakor and Deborah Good.
This work was supported by the Dr. George A. Bray Research Scholars Award Fund, Department of Medicine, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University; The Miriam Hospital Immunology Center; The Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research (CFAR; NIH Grant P30AI042853); and training grants from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (T32HL076134), the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (K23MD015092), and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (K23DK124578).
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The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare that are relevant to the content of this article.
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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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Participants consented to the publication of their deidentified data for research purposes.
All study procedures were approved by the Institutional Review Board at the Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. The procedures used in this study adhere to the tenets of the Declaration of Helsinki.
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Panza, E., Lillis, J., Olson, K. et al. HIV Status, Obesity, and Risk for Weight Stigma: Comparing Weight Stigma Experiences and Internalization Among Adults with Obesity with and Without HIV. AIDS Behav 26, 686–697 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-021-03428-0