Older adults are increasingly becoming impacted by HIV disease, both as newly infected individuals and as long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS living into older age. HIV-related stigma impacts the quality of life of all persons with HIV/AIDS. However, little is know about HIV-related stigma in older adults because many studies do not include older subjects or ignore age as a variable. This mixed methods study examined the experiences of HIV-related stigma in a sample of 25 older adults with HIV/AIDS from the Pacific Northwest. Quantitative methods measured HIV-stigma and depression, while in-depth qualitative interviews captured the lived experiences of these individuals. Stigma was positively and significantly correlated with depression (r = 0.627, p = 0.001) and stigma was found to be significantly higher in African American, as compared to white informants (χ 2 = 4.16, p = 0.041). Qualitative interviews yielded 11 themes that correspond to the four categories constructed in the stigma instrument. Rejection, disclosure concerns, stereotyping, protective silence and feeling “other” were all common experiences of these individuals. HIV stigma should be routinely assessed when working with older, HIV infected clients and interventions should be tailored to the individual experiences of stigma.
AIDS Patient Care And STDs
Emlet, Charles, "Experiences of Stigma in Older Adults Living With HIV/AIDS: A Mixed-Methods Analysis" (2007). Social Work & Criminal Justice Publications. 4.