HIV Stigma, Retention in Care, and Adherence Among Older Black Women Living With HIV

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Abstract

Stigma is recognized as a barrier to the prevention, care, and treatment of HIV, including engagement in the HIV care continuum. HIV stigma in older Black women may be compounded by preexisting social inequities based on gender, age, and race. Using semi-structured interviews and survey questionnaires, we explore experiences of HIV stigma, retention in care, and antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence in 35 older Black women with HIV from Prince George's County, Maryland. Study findings indicated that older Black women experienced high levels of HIV stigma, retention in care, and ART adherence. Findings suggest that experiences of HIV stigma were intensified for older Black women due to multiple stigmatized social positions. Participants also reported experiences of marginalization in health care that hindered retention in care and ART adherence. Interventions aimed at improving HIV prevention, care, and treatment outcomes should incorporate HIV stigma reduction strategies as core elements.

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