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Reducing HIV Stigma to Improve Health Outcomes for African American Women

USA Deepa Rao, PhD, MA
Jane Simoni, PhD
Michele Andrasik, PhD
Janet Turan, PhD
Susan Cohn, MD, MPH
Michael Mugavero, MD


This project was a randomized clinical trial designed to test the efficacy of the Unity Workshop curriculum on reducing HIV stigma for African American women.
African American women living with HIV were randomized to the UNITY workshop or a breast cancer education control group. Interventions took place in HIV clinics in Chicago, IL and Birmingham, AL. Participants self-reported HIV-related stigma and social support at baseline, after workshop, and at 4 follow-up visits over 12 months.
Two hundred thirty-nine participants (UNITY n = 124; breast cancer education n = 115) were assessed over 1 year. Both arms experienced decreases in mean stigma scores over time. Our model estimated that allocation to UNITY was not associated with a significant difference in stigma points over time. Post hoc analysis suggested that preceding increases in perceived social support are associated with decreased HIV-related stigma in this population.
Although UNITY did not significantly reduce HIV-related stigma in this population, our findings suggest that social support may be key to HIV-related stigma reduction.

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