By Melissa Zeligman, W. Bryce Hagedorn, and Sejal M. Barden
Stigma associated with HIV is considered a major stressor for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) that affects quality of life and may serve as a barrier to effective care and treatment. This manuscript explores the prevalence of stigma among PLWHA (N = 124), differentiates the ways that stigma manifests itself (i.e., personalized, disclosure concerns, negative self-image, public attitudes), and examines the predictive nature of stigma in how individuals experience an HIV diagnosis. Multiple regression analyses and canonical correlations indicate that stigma was found to be correlated with, and predictive of, experiencing an HIV diagnosis in a consequential and potentially traumatic way. Lastly, implications for mental health counselors are presented.