Introduction: The HIV epidemic is increasingly penetrating rural areas of the U.S. due to evolving epidemics of injection drug use. Many rural areas experience deficits in availability of HIV prevention, testing and harm reduction services, and confront significant stigma that inhibits care seeking. This paper examines enacted stigma in healthcare settings among rural people who inject drugs (PWID) and explores associations of stigma with continuing high-risk behaviors for HIV. Methods: PWID participants (n = 324) were recruited into the study in three county health department syringe service programs (SSPs), as well as in local community-based organizations. Trained interviewers completed a standardized baseline interview lasting approximately 40 min. Bivariate logistic regression models examined the associations between enacted healthcare stigma, health conditions, and injection risk behaviors, and a mediation analysis was conducted. Results: Stigmatizing health conditions were common in this sample of PWID, and 201 (62.0 %) reported experiencing stigma from healthcare providers. Injection risk behaviors were uniformly associated with higher odds of enacted healthcare stigma, including sharing injection equipment at most recent injection (OR = 2.76; CI 1.55, 4.91), and lifetime receptive needle sharing (OR = 2.27; CI 1.42, 3.63). Enacted healthcare stigma partially mediated the relationship between having a stigmatizing health condition and engagement in high-risk injection behaviors. Discussion: Rural PWID are vulnerable to stigma in healthcare settings, which contributes to high-risk injection behaviors for HIV. These findings have critical public health implications, including the importance of tailored interventions to decrease enacted stigma in care settings, and structural changes to expand the provision of healthcare services within SSP settings.
|Journal||Drug and Alcohol Dependence|
|State||Published - Sep 1 2021|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by Award Number R21DA044251 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse . The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Drug Abuse or the National Institutes of Health.
This research was supported by Award Number R21DA044251 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Drug Abuse or the National Institutes of Health.
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.
- Substance use disorder
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Pharmacology (medical)