HIV Stigma and Its Relation to Mental, Physical and Social Health Among Black Women Living with HIV/AIDS

Letitia E. Travaglini, Seth S. Himelhoch, Li Juan Fang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Black women living with HIV/AIDS (LWHA) are a subgroup with the highest growing rates of HIV infection in the United States. Stigma and co-occurring mental and physical health problems have been reported among Black women LWHA, and research on the benefits of social and religious support, often major protective factors among Black women, has been met with mixed findings. The current study examined the relation between anticipated HIV stigma and mental and physical health symptoms and risk and protective factors (discrimination, coping, social support) among Black women LWHA (N = 220). Results showed that greater anticipated stigma was significantly related to poorer mental health status, greater discrimination, and greater use of negative coping strategies. Stigma was not related to physical health, perceived social support or use of positive coping strategies. This study lends support to the need for psychosocial interventions that reduce anticipated stigma among individuals LWHA, particularly Black women LWHA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3783-3794
Number of pages12
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Data from baseline measures were collected as part of a study funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS). The focus of the study was to evaluate a trauma-informed intensive community support program (ICSP) that provides mental healthcare and access to other services for women with co-occurring mental health and HIV diagnoses. All participants (N = 220) were recruited between 2007 and 2011 and were eligible for the study if they: (1) were receiving mental health services at the ICSP; (2) identified as female and Black/African American; and (3) were living with HIV/AIDS. Any client in the ISCP program who met these criteria was eligible to participate in the study. Participants were recruited through posted flyers and announcements made within the ICSP. Participants that consented to study procedures were interviewed by trained research staff and were paid $20 for their participation.

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements This research is supported, in part, by the Depart-

Funding Information:
This research is supported, in part, by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Academic Affiliations Advanced Fellowship Program in Mental Illness Research and Treatment. It is the result of work supported with resources and the use of facilities at the VA Capitol Health Care Network (VISN 5) MIRECC and the University of Maryland School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry. This article reflects the authors? personal views and in no way represents the official view of the Department of Veterans Affairs of the U.S. Government. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply.


  • Anticipated stigma
  • Black/African American women
  • Coping
  • Mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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