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      Stigma in the HIV/AIDS epidemic: a review of the literature and recommendations for the way forward :

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          Abstract

          Although stigma is considered a major barrier to effective responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, stigma reduction efforts are relegated to the bottom of AIDS programme priorities. The complexity of HIV/AIDS-related stigma is often cited as a primary reason for the limited response to this pervasive phenomenon. In this paper, we systematically review the scientific literature on HIV/AIDS-related stigma to document the current state of research, identify gaps in the available evidence and highlight promising strategies to address stigma. We focus on the following key challenges: defining, measuring and reducing HIV/AIDS-related stigma as well as assessing the impact of stigma on the effectiveness of HIV prevention and treatment programmes. Based on the literature, we conclude by offering a set of recommendations that may represent important next steps in a multifaceted response to stigma in the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

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          Most cited references 57

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          The social structural production of HIV risk among injecting drug users.

          There is increasing appreciation of the need to understand how social and structural factors shape HIV risk. Drawing on a review of recently published literature, we seek to describe the social structural production of HIV risk associated with injecting drug use. We adopt an inclusive definition of the HIV 'risk environment' as the space, whether social or physical, in which a variety of factors exogenous to the individual interact to increase vulnerability to HIV. We identify the following factors as critical in the social structural production of HIV risk associated with drug injecting: cross-border trade and transport links; population movement and mixing; urban or neighbourhood deprivation and disadvantage; specific injecting environments (including shooting galleries and prisons); the role of peer groups and social networks; the relevance of 'social capital' at the level of networks, communities and neighbourhoods; the role of macro-social change and political or economic transition; political, social and economic inequities in relation to ethnicity, gender and sexuality; the role of social stigma and discrimination in reproducing inequity and vulnerability; the role of policies, laws and policing; and the role of complex emergencies such as armed conflict and natural disasters. We argue that the HIV risk environment is a product of interplay in which social and structural factors intermingle but where political-economic factors may play a predominant role. We therefore emphasise that much of the most needed 'structural HIV prevention' is unavoidably political in that it calls for community actions and structural changes within a broad framework concerned to alleviate inequity in health, welfare and human rights.
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            Stigma consciousness: The psychological legacy of social stereotypes.

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              Measuring health-related stigma--a literature review.

               Linda Brakel (2006)
              Stigma related to chronic health conditions such as HIV/AIDS, leprosy, tuberculosis, mental illness and epilepsy is a global phenomenon with a severe impact on individuals and their families, and on the effectiveness of public health programmes. To compare stigma measurement in different disciplines, a literature review was conducted. References were obtained through a search of literature databases and through examining relevant bibliographies. Sixty-three papers were selected that addressed the issue of measurement of stigma or related constructs and that contained a sample of the instrument or items used. Five unpublished studies were also included in the review. The aspects of health-related stigma used for assessment can be grouped in five categories. First, the experience of actual discrimination and/or participation restrictions on the part of the person affected; second, attitudes towards the people affected; third, perceived or felt stigma; fourth, self or internalized stigma; and fifth, discriminatory and stigmatizing practices in (health) services, legislation, media and educational materials. Within each of these areas, different research methods have been used, including questionnaires, qualitative methods, indicators and scales. The characteristics of the instruments considered most promising are described and compared. The purpose of stigma assessment is to increase our understanding of stigma and its determinants and dynamics, to determine its extent or severity in a given setting or target group and to monitor changes in stigma over time. The conclusions from this review are that (a) the consequences of stigma are remarkably similar in different health conditions, cultures and public health programmes; (b) many instruments have been developed to assess the intensity and qualities of stigma, but often these have been condition-specific; and (c) development of generic instruments to assess health-related stigma may be possible. To achieve this aim, existing instruments should be further validated, developed or adapted for generic use, where possible.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                AIDS
                AIDS
                Ovid Technologies (Wolters Kluwer Health)
                0269-9370
                2008
                August 2008
                : 22
                : Suppl 2
                : S57-S65
                Article
                10.1097/01.aids.0000327438.13291.62
                2835402
                18641472
                © 2008

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