Stigma predicts support: Measuring HIV/AIDS-related stigma and support for a hypothetical HIV+ family member amongst post-secondary students in Fiji

Stream: Rapid Papers 2
Date: Friday, 1 April 2016
Time: 11.15 am – 1.00 pm


Introduction: Increased constraints in provision of healthcare in developing countries result in family members taking greater responsibility in providing care and support required by people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). However, negative family reactions due to HIV/AIDS-related stigma are also common. This study compared the levels of three types of HIV/AIDS-related stigma, and support for a hypothetical HIV+ close family member and examined whether the three types of stigma predicted support for a hypothetical HIV+ family member. Method: Three hundred HIV negative post-secondary students were surveyed using a questionnaire created on the basis of an earlier qualitative study with PLWHA (N = 11). The questionnaire consisted of four Likert scales which measured three forms of layered stigma (value-driven stigma, fear-driven stigma and anticipated secondary stigma) and support for a hypothetical HIV+ family member. All four scales had high internal reliability. Results: The data indicated that post-secondary students (1) express greater levels of supportive attitudes in comparison to stigmatising attitudes (2) express higher levels of value-driven stigma than other types of stigma, and (3) that HIV/AIDS-related stigma predicts willingness to provide support to HIV+ close family members amongst post-secondary students. Implications: HIV/AIDS stigma-reduction efforts need to effectively address the three types of stigma by combining initiatives that reduce fear of transmission and social stigma. Furthermore, if family members are to continue the essential care-giving, services such as pre and post diagnosis counselling need to be extended to family members of PLWHA.


Shazna Buksh (Presenter), The University of the South Pacific
Shazna Buksh is a lecturer in the Discipline of Psychology at the University of the South Pacific where she teaches research methods and cross-cultural psychology courses. Her research areas include HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination, psychological correlates of obesity, assessment of non-communicable disease-related interventions, and reproductive health education.