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Cult Health Sex. 2017 Dec;19(12):1329-1343. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2017.1312530. Epub 2017 Apr 18.

Intersectional stigma among midlife and older Black women living with HIV.

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a Department of Anthropology , University of Maryland , College Park , MD, USA.
b Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics , School of Public Health, University of Maryland , College Park , MD, USA.


HIV-related stigma is a barrier to the prevention and treatment of HIV. For midlife and older Black women, the nature and intensity of HIV-related stigma may be compounded by their multiple marginalised social status based on gender, race, and age. We examined the perceptions and experiences of HIV-related stigma among midlife and older Black women living in Prince George's County, Maryland, USA. Between 2014 and 2015, we conducted semi-structured interviews with a sample of 35 midlife and older Black women living with HIV. Using a modified grounded theory approach, we explored emergent themes related to the manifestation and experience of intersectional stigma and changes in stigma experience over time. Our findings suggest that intersectional stigma is a central feature in midlife and older Black women's lives, with women reporting experiences of intersectional stigma at the interpersonal/familial, community, and institutional/structural levels. Although women acknowledged gradual acceptance of their HIV-positive status over time, they continued to experience negative responses related to gender, race, age, and disease. Our findings indicate that a more robust understanding of the impact of HIV-related stigma requires work to consider the complex manifestations of intersectional stigma among an increasingly aging population of Black women in the USA.


Aging; Black women; HIV; intersectionality; midlife; stigma

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