Levels of Felt Stigma among a Group of People with HIV in Puerto Rico

Julio Jimenez, Marangelie Morales, Eida Castro, Marieva Puig, Carmen N. Vélez, Lydia Santiago, Carmen Zorrilla


Objective: HIV felt stigma is a major problem needing to be addressed because of its association with poor treatment adherence, decreases in help-seeking behaviors, high-risk sexual conduct, emotional discomfort, and the reduction of well-being in people with HIV/AIDS (PWHA). The aim of this study was to identify the frequency of felt stigma among PWHA in Puerto Rico. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 249 subjects (59% men, 41% women). Participants completed the Puerto Rico Comprehensive Center for HIV Disparities (PR-CCHD) Sociodemographic Questionnaire and the HIV Felt Sigma Scale. Results: 80% of the subjects showed some level of felt stigma. Women showed significantly higher levels of HIV-related felt stigma than did men. Disclosure, negative self-image, and public attitude scores were also higher in women than in men. Sociodemographic variables such as age, marital status, employment status, income, and educational level showed significant associations with felt stigma and its dimensions. Conclusion: Results of this study evidence the need to develop culturally sensitive intervention models to reduce the felt-stigma burden in PWHA.


HIV Felt-Stigma Scale; Puerto Rican population; People living with HIV/AIDS

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