Associations of stigma with negative health outcomes for people living with HIV in the Gambia: Implications for key populations

Sarah M. Peitzmeier, Ashley Grosso, Amanda Bowes, Nuha Ceesay, Stefan D. Baral

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: The HIV epidemic in the Gambia is concentrated among stigmatized key populations. This study explores the relationship between 3 types of HIV-related stigma and 3 health outcomes among people living with HIV (PLHIV) in the Gambia. Methods: Three hundred seventeen PLHIV from PLHIV support groups in the Gambia were surveyed using the PLHIV Stigma Index. Results: Enacted stigma in health care settings was significantly associated with avoiding or delaying seeking care [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 3.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.24 to 7.89]; enacted stigma in the household or community (aOR = 1.21, 95% CI = 0.98 to 1.49) and internal stigma (aOR = 1.47, 95% CI = 0.96 to 2.22) were marginally associated. Enacted stigma in health care settings was significantly associated with non-use of antiretroviral therapy (aOR = 0.52, 95% CI = 0.31 to 0.88), whereas internal stigma and enacted stigma in the household or community were not. Enacted stigma in the household or community (aOR = 0.75, 95% CI = 0.64 to 0.87) and internal stigma (aOR = 0.69, 95% CI = 0.50 to 0.93) were significantly associated with poorer self-reported health status, whereas enacted stigma in health care settings was not. Conclusions: PLHIV in the Gambia face stigma regardless of identity as members of key populations, who may face dual stigma. Stigma mitigation represents a potentially important component of a comprehensive package of services to improve the HIV care continuum in the Gambia. Targeted interventions that address stigma with health care workers could facilitate antiretroviral therapy use and timely care seeking for PLHIV. Interventions to address internal stigma and enacted stigma in the household and community may yield additional dividends for the overall health of PLHIV. Examining only 1 domain of stigma may not be sufficient to understand the effect of stigma on a specific health outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S146-S153
JournalJournal of acquired immune deficiency syndromes
Volume68
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • ART
  • Care and treatment
  • HIV
  • Stigma
  • The Gambia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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