Stigma among HIV-positive women complex and overlapping

In this week's PLoS Medicine, Mona Loutfy of the University of Toronto, Canada and colleagues report their study examining experiences of stigma and coping strategies among HIV-positive women in Ontario, Canada.

Using focus groups, the researchers found that women attributed their experiences of stigma and discrimination to HIV-related stigma, sexism and , racism, homophobia and transphobia, and involvement in sex work. The coping strategies they used included resilience (at a micro level), social networks and support groups (at a meso level), and challenging stigma (at a macro level).

The authors state that: "Overall, this investigation highlights a complex system of intersectional stigma that necessitates multifaceted strategies to promote health equity for HIV-positive women. Findings can inform treatment, care, and support guidelines and practice recommendations for health care practitioners, social workers, and support workers, and mental health specialists working with HIV-positive women."

More information: Logie CH, James L, Tharao W, Loutfy MR (2011) HIV, Gender, Race, Sexual Orientation, and Sex Work: A Qualitative Study of Intersectional Stigma Experienced by HIV-Positive Women in Ontario, Canada. PLoS Med 8(11): e1001124. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001124

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

International team explores the stigma surrounding abortion

Jun 28, 2011

An international team of researchers says abortion stigma is under-researched, under theorized and over emphasized in one category: women who've had abortions. As a result, they're launching a new direction into research ...

Recommended for you

Condoms 'too small' for Uganda men

Sep 19, 2014

Ugandan MPs have been inundated with complaints that many condoms on sale in the east African nation are too small, warning the problem is a blow to the fight against AIDS.

Withdrawal from the evolutionary race

Sep 18, 2014

In some HIV sufferers, the immune system does not fight off the immune deficiency virus. Instead, the body tolerates the pathogen. A research team headed by ETH Zurich has now determined how strongly patients ...

The genetics of coping with HIV

Sep 16, 2014

We respond to infections in two fundamental ways. One, which has been the subject of intensive research over the years, is "resistance," where the body attacks the invading pathogen and reduces its numbers. Another, which ...

User comments