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Gender differences in HIV-related stigma in Kenya
Authors: George C.T. Mugoya, and Kacey Ernst
Source: AIDS Care, 26(2): 206-213; DOI: 10.1080/09540121.2013.808733
Topic(s): Gender
Country: Africa
Published: FEB 2014
Abstract: Stigma associated with HIV/AIDS directly and indirectly drives HIV transmission. We examined how factors associated with HIV-related stigma differed by gender, using data from the 2008–2009 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS). Descriptive, bivariate and multinomial logistic regression analyses were conducted on selected HIV-related stigma indicators for men and women. Bivariate analyses showed significant gender differences in the overall HIV Stigma index with a higher proportion of women than men presented at the highest stigma level (4.9% vs 2.7%, p < 0.01). Women were more likely to express higher stigmatic attitudes for all components of stigma measured than men. Multivariate analyses showed that HIV-related knowledge had significant inverse dose-response for both men and women. For instance, compared to women in the first HIV-related knowledge quartile, a 1 unit increase in HIV-related knowledge among women at the third HIV-related knowledge quartile was expected to lead to a 63.8% decrease in HIV-related stigma (95% CI [0.21, 0.63]) for women with high stigma, 57.8% decrease for similar women with medium stigma (95% CI [0.33, 0.55]) and 28.4% decrease for those with low stigma (95% CI [0.57, 0.90]). Acceptance with the statement “a husband is justified to hit or beat his wife if she refuses to have sex with him” was a significant risk factor for expression of stigmatising attitudes at all levels for women (High: OR = 1.49, 95% CI [1.02, 2.17]), Medium: OR = 1.47, 95% CI [1.18, 1.82], Low: OR = 1.38, 95% CI [1.10, 1.73]) and men at medium stigma (OR = 2.02, 95% CI [1.38, 2.95]). Other notable gender differences were found in employment, marital status, ethnicity, region of residence, wealth and media exposure. Our results showed that women in the general Kenyan population had higher stigmatic attitudes than men. This was associated with differences in risk factor profile and confirmed previous literature on complexity of social-cultural factors associated with HIV-related stigma.