Associations Between HIV Stigma and Mental Health Among Older Hispanics and Whites Living With HIV
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Associations Between HIV Stigma and Mental Health Among Older Hispanics and Whites Living With HIV


Abstract Hispanics/Latinos/as/x (henceforth Hispanics) have higher rates of HIV infection than non-Hispanic (NH) Whites, particularly in older age. People living with HIV (PWH) are at increased risk of stigma and poor mental health, but these associations have not been thoroughly examined in older PWH. We investigated ethnic differences in HIV stigma and its association with mental health in older Hispanic and NH White PWH. Participants included 116 PWH ages 50-75 (58 Hispanic and 58 NH White) from southern California (for the overall cohort: 82.7% male; 57.7% AIDS, 93.9% on antiretroviral therapy). Participants completed self-report measures of HIV-stigma, depression (Beck Depression Inventory-II; BDI-II), and cumulative alcohol use (i.e., lifetime total quantity/total days). Covariates examined included sociodemographic and HIV-disease characteristics. An independent sample t-test showed no significant ethnic differences in HIV stigma (p=.82). Separate multivariable linear regression models on mental health outcomes (adjusting for significant covariates) showed no significant interaction between HIV stigma and ethnicity on BDI-II scores (p=.83) or cumulative alcohol use (p=.51). Follow up models removing the interaction term, showed that increased HIV stigma was associated with higher BDI-II scores (B=0.34, 95% Cl=0.21-0.48; p<.001), but not with cumulative alcohol use (p=.49) in the overall sample. Findings indicate a significant link between HIV stigma and depression symptoms in older PWH, with comparable associations among Hispanics and NH Whites. Future studies examining factors that may moderate the link between HIV stigma and depression in diverse older PWH would help guide the development of interventions aimed at improving mental health in this population.

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