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PLoS Medicine

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AIDS (Disease) -- Sub-Saharan Africa -- Effect of poverty reduction on, AIDS (Disease) -- Patients -- Stigma (Social psychology), AIDS (Disease) -- Patients -- Services for

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6 pages


HIV is highly stigmatized throughout sub-Saharan Africa. In studies conducted among general population samples, stigma has been shown to impede uptake of HIV testing and increase sexual risktaking behavior. Among HIV-infected persons, stigma has also been associated with inhibited serostatus disclosure to sexual partners and potential treatment supporters, delays in HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation, and ART nonadherence. The stigma of HIV also intensifies the poverty, stress, and insecurity endemic to many resource-limited settings, resulting in worsened mental health, itself an important determinant of AIDS-related mortality. Until we can better understand how to effectively intervene to reduce the stigma of HIV, it will continue to adversely affect the wellbeing of HIV-infected persons and undermine both treatment and prevention efforts throughout sub-Saharan Africa.


David Bangsberg was affiliated with Harvard Medical School; Center for Global Health, Massachusetts General Hospital; and Mbarara University of Science and Technology at the time of writing.

© 2013 Tsai et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



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Public Library of Science