Community Environment and HIV/AIDS-Related Stigma in China
Jiajian Chen, East West Center
Shengli Chen, National Population and Family Planning Commission of China
Shikun Zhang, National Population and Family Planning Commission of China
It is hypothesized that stigma, a major obstacle to effective HIV/AIDS prevention and care, is linked not only to individual misconception of HIV/AIDS, but also to social environments. This study aims to examine the effects of community environments on individual stigmatizing attitudes towards people with AIDS in China. Multilevel logistic regression modeling was used to analyze data on 5658 respondents of about 70 communities (villages/neighborhoods) who were 15-49 years and participated in the Baseline IEC Survey for HIV/AIDS Prevention conducted by China's State Family Planning Commission, 2000. The results show that high community level of HIV/AIDS-related risk behaviors or unavailability of tap water was associated with increased HIV/AIDS-related stigma, after controlling for individual socio-demographic characteristics, including correct and incorrect knowledge about HIV/AIDS. These findings suggest that interventions for reducing HIV/AIDS-related stigma should target societal influences, especially in the areas with environments of increased risk behaviors and poor living conditions.