The internalised stigma on HIV score increased by 11% from 2007 to 2012 in Uganda, according to an international team of investigators.

8 Oct 2014

Michael Carter

HIV continues to be stigmatised despite increased access to antiretroviral therapy (ART), according to research from Uganda published in the online edition of AIDS. Levels of internalised stigma among people starting ART increased between 2007 and 2012. There was also an increase in the proportion of individuals in the general public who said they expected people with HIV to experience stigma.

“We observed an increase over time in internalized stigma among PLHIV [people living with HIV] initiating ART,” comment the authors. “During the same time period, we observed that a significantly higher percentage of people in the general population endorsed fears about disclosure…our findings suggest that the expansion of ART alone may be insufficient to reduce HIV-related stigma and that further targeted efforts to counter stigma are necessary.”

Access to ART has increased in middle-income and resource-limited countries in recent years. It has been suggested that further roll-out of ART will reduce levels of HIV-associated stigma in these settings. However, it is not clear whether this is the case.

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