XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Community and academia partnerships: building an intervention model to reduce HIV related felt stigma in Puerto Ricans living with HIV/AIDS

J. Jiménez, E. Castro, M. Morales, D. Adams, E. Rivera, K. Alejandro, D. Madera

Ponce School of Medicine, Clinical Psychology, Ponce, Puerto Rico

Issues: Stigma is a phenomenon known to undermine the quality of life of those affected by HIV, perpetrating health disparities. HIV related Felt-stigma is an understudied dimension of stigma that refers to the real or imagined fear of both societal attitudes and potential discrimination arising from an HIV positive serostatus. This phenomenon is known to negatively affect people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) long-term adherence to HAART, help seeking behaviors, and quality of life. Despite of its impact, there is a lack of intervention models to reduce HIV felt-stigma in Puerto Ricans LWHA.
Description: The investigators of this project have been developing studies in Puerto Rico during last 6 year in HIV felt stigma. Findings show that 80% of those infected with HIV present some level of felt-stigma (40 % present moderate to severe levels) and higher felt-stigma prevalence in women LWHA when compared to men. Other findings suggest the need to address felt-stigma in this population through culturally sensitive intervention models that consider how felt stigma manifests in the context of other mediating factors. Framed under the Community Based Participatory approach, this project incorporates innovative strategies for the enhancement and strengthened community-academia partnerships. This initiative incorporates a Community Advisory Committee (CAC), along with quantitative and qualitative techniques, to inform the design of an intervention model to reduce felt stigma in PLWHA.
Lessons learned: The process of designing stigma reducing interventions requires substantial knowledge about the affected community. Lessons learned from this experience will be further discussed. The incorporation of a CAC, comprised of PLWHA, healthcare providers, Ryan White agency administrators and case managers, have been a valuable strategy for bringing various perspectives in the intervention design process.
Next steps: Using the generated data, we intend to seek further funding to test the effectiveness of the designed intervention model.

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