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Abstract

Introduction: Research has found that HIV-related stigma has numerous negative impacts on the lives of people living with HIV (PLWH). Although there are more resources than ever dedicated to HIV/AIDS efforts, stigma continues to be a major factor challenging the prevention and treatment of HIV today. Understanding the impacts of stigma on health outcomes and quality of life in PLWH is essential to address the global HIV epidemic and reduce health disparities.

Search Strategy: We conducted a secondary meta-analysis of existing research that discussed and evaluated the impacts of HIV-related stigma and discrimination on PLWH. We searched the following databases for peerreviewed articles: EBSCO Host, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), and PubMed. We also obtained reports from Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), World Health Organization (WHO), and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

Results: Our review of the literature revealed that HIV-related stigma is a socially constructed global phenomenon that reflects social and cultural tradition. Most current stigma-reduction interventions are designed to address individual-level stigma (symbolic stigma). While this has contributed to improvements in individual attitudes towards PLWH, interventions at the individual level alone do not address the macro-level attitudes and societal norms that influence individual ideals and behaviors.

Conclusion: Findings in the literature review suggest that because of the pervasiveness of HIV-related stigma globally, addressing stigma is imperative to the HIV response. It also suggests that interventions that address stigma at the structural level and target multiple domains might have a more profound impact on HIV-related health outcomes.

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