Self-Stigma, Education, and HIV Knowledge in Mysore, India
Geraldine Cadet, Gabriella Cruz, Hector Peguero, and Alina Mitchell
Background: Research on HIV in India has focused on mostly stigma and how it affects the quality of life. Many individuals with HIV have a fear of being stigmatized yet very few actually experience stigma. There are no studies that examine how HIV stigma, HIV knowledge, and education all correlate. This study will examine these topics based on women in rural India.
Methods: Clinicians from PHRII recruited 1,675 rural pregnant women living outside of Mysore city using two mobile medical clinics. The women received antenatal care and were tested for HIV, hepatitis B, syphilis, and hemoglobin levels. Each participant was then given an interviewer-administered questionnaire in Kannada. The questionnaire collected sociodemographic information, assessed HIV knowledge and perceived HIV self-stigma.
Results: The study shows a range of ages from 14-18 (N= 258), 19-24 (N= 1239) and 25-40 (N= 178). The study shows that people with no education have higher numbers of total-self stigma (M= 14.4, SD= 3.3) and less HIV knowledge (M= 4.6, SD= 3.5), when having a secondary education 8 years plus, total self-stigma is less (M= 13.0, SD= 4.1) and total HIV knowledge is higher (M= 6.2, SD= 2.6).
Conclusion: Based on our analysis, level of education has an influence on self-stigma and HIV knowledge scores. Those with more education had lower self-stigma and higher HIV knowledge compared to those with less education. These findings suggest the importance of education on HIV knowledge and provide useful information to initiate future educational interventions in rural south India.