HIV/AIDS-Related Stigma Among African Americans in the Southern United States

  • Pamela Payne Foster
  • Susan W. Gaskins


Stigma is defined as a discrediting attribute leading to discrimination. For people with HIV/AIDS, stigma refers to negative feelings and behaviors toward individuals, groups, and communities. Specific African American populations have different stigma-related experiences. This chapter will address stigma in older adults living with the disease as well as the larger community in the rural South. Additionally, because stigma is reported to impact disclosure decisions of HIV-infected individuals, those decisions and their context will be discussed. Also, because spirituality/religion plays an important cultural role in the lives of African Americans, the role of the Black church in HIV/AIDS prevention will also be addressed. The authors will also discuss faith-based strategies to respond in a supportive manner to individuals with HIV/AIDS. The authors draw from their work in the Black Belt region of the rural South, an area with a high incidence and prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS. It is hoped that issues discussed in the chapter will ultimately result in not only positive outcomes for people who are infected but also prevention of infection for others.


Prevention Activity African American Large Metropolitan Area Black Church Community Stigma 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Community and Rural Medicine, Institute for Rural Health ResearchThe University of Alabama School of MedicineTuscaloosaUSA
  2. 2.Capstone College of NursingThe University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

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