Predictors of HIV-Related Stigmas Among African American and Latino Religious Congregants

Published in: Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 2015

Posted on RAND.org on August 06, 2015

by Kathryn Pitkin Derose, David E. Kanouse, Laura M. Bogart, Beth Ann Griffin, Ann C. Haas, Brian D. Stucky, Malcolm V. Williams, Karen Rocío Flórez

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OBJECTIVES: To inform church-based stigma interventions by exploring dimensions of HIV stigma among African American and Latino religious congregants and determining how these are related to drug addiction and homosexuality stigmas and knowing someone HIV-positive. METHOD: In-person, self-administered surveys of congregants 18+ years old across 2 African American and 3 Latino churches (n = 1,235, response rate 73%) in a western U.S. city with high HIV prevalence. Measures included 12 items that captured dimensions of HIV stigma, a 5-item scale that assessed attitudes toward people who are addicted to drugs, a 7-item scale assessing attitudes toward homosexuality, and questions regarding sociodemographics and previous communication about HIV. RESULTS: Of the survey participants, 63.8% were women, mean age was 40.2 years, and 34.4% were African American, 16.8% were U.S.-born Latinos, 16.0% were foreign-born, English-speaking Latinos, and 32.9% were foreign-born, Spanish-speaking Latinos. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses identified 4 dimensions of HIV stigma: discomfort interacting with people with HIV (4 items, α = .86), feelings of shame "if you had HIV" (3 items, α = .78), fears of rejection "if you had HIV" (3 items, α = .71), and feelings of blame toward people with HIV (2 items, α = .65). Across all dimensions, after controlling for sociodemographic characteristics and previous communication about HIV, knowing someone with HIV was associated with lower HIV stigma, and greater stigma concerning drug addiction and homosexuality were associated with higher HIV stigma. CONCLUSIONS: Congregation-based HIV stigma reduction interventions should consider incorporating contact with HIV-affected people. It may also be helpful to address attitudes toward drug addiction and sexual orientation.

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