HIV Stigma in Prisons and Jails: Results from a Staff Survey

Steven Belenko, Richard Dembo, Michael Copenhaver, Matthew Hiller, Holly Swan, Carmen Albizu Garcia, Daniel O’Connell, Carrie Oser, Frank Pearson, Jennifer Pankow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


With numerous HIV service gaps in prisons and jails, there has been little research on HIV stigma attitudes among correctional staff. Such attitudes may undermine HIV services for inmates at risk of or infected with HIV. This HIV stigma attitudes survey among 218 correctional staff in 32 US facilities (1) provides an overview of staff’s stigma attitudes, (2) reports psychometric analyses of domains in Earnshaw and Chaudoir’s HIV Stigma Framework (HSF), and (3) explores differences in stigma attitudes among different staff types. Overall, correctional and medical staff expressed non stigmatizing attitudes toward people living with HIV/AIDS, but perceived that stigma and discrimination exist in others. Factor analyses revealed a three factor structure capturing two mechanisms of the HSF (prejudice, discrimination). Few factor score differences were found by staff type or setting. Implications for correctional HIV services and future research on HIV stigma attitudes are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-84
Number of pages14
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded under a cooperative agreement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse. The authors gratefully acknowledge the collaborative contributions by NIDA; the Coordinating Center, AMAR International, Inc.; and the Research Centers participating in CJ-DATS. The Research Centers include: Arizona State University and Maricopa County Adult Probation (U01DA025307); University of Connecticut and the Connecticut Department of Correction (U01DA016194); University of Delaware and the New Jersey Department of Corrections (U01DA016230); Friends Research Institute (U01DA025233) and the Maryland Department of Public Safety Correctional Services’ Division of Parole and Probation; University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Department of Corrections (U01DA016205); National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. and the Colorado Department of Corrections (U01DA016200); University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island Hospital and the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (U01DA016191); Texas Christian University and the Illinois Department of Corrections (U01DA016190); Temple University and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (U01DA025284); and the University of California at Los Angeles and the Washington State Department of Corrections (U01DA016211). The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Health and Human Services, NIDA, or other CJ-DATS parties.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Correctional staff
  • Factor analysis
  • HIV discrimination
  • HIV stigma
  • Prisons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'HIV Stigma in Prisons and Jails: Results from a Staff Survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this