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Gendered aspects of perceived and internalized HIV-related stigma in China.


Although studies have demonstrated that females experience more HIV-related stigma than males do, questions remain regarding the different dimensions of the stigma (i.e., perceived versus internalized) in China. The present study investigated gender differences in perceived and internalized HIV-related stigma, taking into account the potential influence of education. The study was conducted between October 2011 and March 2013. A total of 522 people living with HIV (PLH) were recruited from Anhui Province, China. The PLH participated in a survey using the Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) method. The gender differences in perceived and internalized HIV-related stigma were calculated with and without stratifying by education level. Female participants had significantly less education than the male participants. No significant difference was observed between females and males with respect to perceived stigma. However, females reported significantly higher internalized stigma than males did (p < .001). When socio-demographic characteristics were controlled, the gender difference in internalized stigma remained significant among educated participants (p = .038). The findings suggested that gender differences in HIV-related stigma were primarily found for internalized stigma. Heightened intervention efforts are encouraged to reduce internalized HIV-related stigma, particularly among female PLH in China and other regions with similar gender dynamics.

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