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CDC researchers examine HIV-related stigma among U.S. healthcare providers

Less stigmatizing attitudes by providers can help reduce social and structural barriers to HIV care across the care continuum.
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A Systemic Review from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed studies of HIV-related stigma among healthcare providers and identified three main themes: attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors; quality of patient care; and education and training.

The CDC researchers found that factors associated with HIV-related stigma varied by gender, race, category of providers, and type of clinical setting, according to the study results reported in AIDS Patient Care and STDs, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. Click here to read the full-text article free on the AIDS Patient Care and STDs website through November 9, 2018.

In the article entitled “HIV-Related Stigma by Healthcare Providers in the United States: A Systematic Review,” coauthors Angelica Geter, Adrienne Herron, and Madeline Sutton, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, examined HIV-related stigma by healthcare providers for the purposes of applying their findings to the development of stigma-reduction interventions for healthcare providers in the U.S.

Among their findings, the researchers reported that stigma can be manifested through inadvertent behaviors and beliefs, such as homophobia, transphobia, racism, and negative views of people who inject drugs.

This can create a barrier to HIV prevention, treatment, and care, whereas less stigmatizing attitudes by providers can help reduce social and structural barriers to HIV care across the care continuum.

More overt HIV-related stigma may manifest as providers who take extreme precautionary measures during routine examinations, use of stigmatizing language, and even denial of necessary services or treatment.

“Most prior studies have focused on the importance of HIV stigma related to family, friends, and personal communities, and how it may prevent an individual from getting tested, seeking treatment, or continuing in HIV care. This study focuses on stigmatizing factors among health care providers themselves,” says Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Laurence, MD, Professor of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY.