“It is not an acceptable disease”: A qualitative study of HIV-related stigma and discrimination and impacts on health and wellbeing for people from ethnically diverse backgrounds in Australia

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Abstract

Background: People from ethnically diverse backgrounds living with HIV are susceptible to adverse health and wellbeing outcomes, particularly as a consequence of HIV-related stigma and discrimination (HSD), though relatively little is known about experiences in Australia.

Methods: This paper reports on HSD in ethnically diverse communities in South Australia and impacts on health and wellbeing. Interviews and focus groups were conducted with 10 individuals living with HIV from ethnically diverse backgrounds, 14 ethnically diverse community leaders, and 50 service providers. Data were analysed thematically.

Results: Findings indicated that HIV is a highly stigmatised condition in ethnically diverse communities due to fear of moral judgment and social isolation, and was experienced at the intersections of gender, sexual orientation, religion, culture, and immigration status. Experiences of HSD were damaging to health and wellbeing through non-disclosure, reduced social support, delayed testing, service access barriers, impacts on treatment adherence, and directly to mental health.

Conclusions: Actions addressing the impacts of HSD on people from ethnically diverse backgrounds are crucial.

Original languageEnglish
Article number779
Number of pages15
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2021

Keywords

  • Australia
  • CALD
  • discrimination
  • ethnically diverse
  • health
  • HIV
  • migrant
  • refugee
  • stigma

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