Reducing HIV-related stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings: A systematic review of quantitative evidence


INTRODUCTION: Stigma and discrimination (SAD) related to HIV compromise access and adherence to treatment and support programs among people living with HIV (PLHIV). The ambitious goal of ending the epidemic of HIV by 2030 set by the United Nations Joint Program of HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) will thus only be achieved if HIV-related stigma and discrimination are reduced. The objective of this review was to locate, appraise and describe international literature reporting on interventions that addressed HIV-related SAD in healthcare settings. METHODS: The databases searched were: Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL), Excerpta Medica Database from Elsevier (EMBASE), PubMed and Psychological Information (PsycINFO) database. Two individuals independently appraised the quality of the papers using appraisal instruments from the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI). Data were extracted from papers included in the review using the standardized data extraction tool from JBI. Quality of evidence for major outcomes was assessed using Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE). RESULTS: We retained 14 records reporting on eight studies. Five categories of SAD reduction (information-based, skills building, structural, contact-based and biomedical interventions) were identified. Training popular opinion leaders (POLs) resulted in significantly lower mean avoidance intent scores (MD = -1.87 [95% CI -2.05 to -1.69]), mean prejudicial attitude scores (MD = -3.77 [95% CI -5.4 to -2.09]) and significantly higher scores in mean compliance to universal precaution (MD = 1.65 [95% CI 1.41 to 1.89]) when compared to usual care (moderate quality evidence). The Summary of Findings table (SOF) is shown in Table 1. CONCLUSIONS: Evidence of moderate quality indicates that training popular opinion leaders is effective in reducing avoidance intent and prejudicial attitude and improving compliance to universal precaution. Very low quality evidence indicates that professionally-assisted peer group interventions, modular interactive training, participatory self-guided assessment and intervention, contact strategy combined with information giving and empowerment are effective in reducing HIV-related stigma.Further Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) are needed. Future trials need to use up-to-date and validated instruments to measure stigma and discrimination


Feyissa GT, Lockwood C, Woldie M, Munn Z




  • Determinants of Health
    • Stigma/discrimination
  • Population(s)
    • Other


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