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HIV microaggressions: a novel measure of stigma-related experiences among people living with HIV

Abstract

Since the beginning of the HIV epidemic stigma has served as a strong barrier to effectively delivering HIV prevention and treatment. Due in part to its complex nature, stigma is difficult to address and novel methods of understanding stigma are needed. Based on formative and empirical research with N = 236 primarily Black men living with HIV, a HIV microaggressions scale was developed and evaluated in order to assess this component of stigma. Factor analysis resulted in a 13-item scale (α = .83) with 3 subscales explaining 51% of the total variance. The microaggressions scale demonstrated convergent validity (with internalized, enacted, and anticipated stigmas) and discriminant validity (with social support). HIV microaggressions was associated with longer gaps since last care appointment and depressive symptoms, and subscales were associated with barriers to accessing health care, disclosure, and HIV care self-efficacy. The HIV microaggressions scale is a novel tool for assessing a critical subcomponent of stigma.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Because the anticipated stigma items were only asked if the participants had previously experienced the stigma (enacted stigma), reliability analyses could not be conducted.

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Funding

Research was funded by NIH Grants T32MH074387, R01DA043068, and K01DA042881.

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Correspondence to Lisa A. Eaton.

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Conflict of interest

Lisa A. Eaton, Aerielle Allen, Jessica L. Maksut, Valerie Earnshaw, Ryan J. Watson, Seth C. Kalichman declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

This research involved Human Subjects and was conducted with the approval of the University of Connecticut Institutional Review Board (Protocol #16-130MER) and research was conducted in accordance with the ethical standards as laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Eaton, L.A., Allen, A., Maksut, J.L. et al. HIV microaggressions: a novel measure of stigma-related experiences among people living with HIV. J Behav Med 43, 34–43 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-019-00064-x

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Keywords

  • HIV microaggressions
  • Stigma
  • Scale development
  • Health care