Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 324-331

HIV Stigma and Specified Correlates in North India

1 Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute Medical Science, Rohtak, Haryana, India
2 Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
3 Division of Arthritis and Rheumatic Diseases, Portland, USA

Correspondence Address:
Naresh Nebhinani
Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute Medical Science, Rohtak, Haryana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0253-7176.108203

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Background: Worldwide, the stigma and discrimination impede HIV-AIDS programs across the continuum of prevention to care. We studied stigma and related issues in HIV-positive subjects. Materials and Methods: At a tertiary care hospital in North India, we studied 100 HIV-positive outpatients not receiving antiretroviral therapy. The subjects self-administered 'Tanzania Stigma Indicator and Community Endline-Individual Questionnaire'. Psychiatric morbidity was screened with General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-I2 Hindi) and diagnosed with Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID). Results: A typical subject was middle aged (25-44 years, 77%), school non-completer (63%), village dweller (61%), and male (59%). Only 35 subjects could differentiate between HIV and AIDS, and only 24 were aware of antiretroviral therapy. Unprotected sex, sharing injections, and blood transfusions were reported spontaneously as possible sources of transmission by 56-79% subjects each. About 80% of subjects reported no fear in touching HIV-positive subjects or their objects. Avoiding injections, being faithful to uninfected partner, avoiding blood transfusions, using condoms, and avoiding sharing razors/blades were reported spontaneously as HIV preventive measures by 40 to 26 subjects each. Half of the subjects blamed self for contracting HIV. Only 38 subjects reported others behaving differently with HIV-positive subjects. HIV status disclosure was reported by 98 subjects (73 to family or relatives). Urban subjects reported higher primary stigma and shame or blame. Psychiatric disorders, present in 45 subjects, showed no association with stigma items. Conclusions: The subjects had a limited knowledge, especially of treatment aspects. Stigma showed no association with psychiatric disorders. The study reflects a strong need for public health measures to enhance awareness and knowledge about HIV/AIDS.

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