An examination of the relationships among gender, health status, social support, and HIV-related stigma.

This secondary analysis used E. Goffman's (1963) model of stigma to examine how social support and health status are related to HIV stigma, after controlling for specific sociodemographic factors, and how these relationships differed between men and women living with HIV. Baseline data from 183 subjects in a behavioral randomized clinical trial were analyzed using multigroup structural equation modeling. Women reported significantly higher levels of stigma than men after controlling for race, history of injection drug use, and exposure category. HIV-related stigma was negatively predicted by social support regardless of gender. The theorized model explained a significant amount of the variance in stigma for men and women (24.4% and 44%, respectively) and may provide novel and individualized intervention points for health care providers to effect positive change in perceived stigma for the person living with HIV. The study offers insight into understanding the relationships among gender, health status, social support, and HIV-related stigma.