Presentation Title

Stigma In the Appalachian HIV and Transgender Communities

Abstract

New surveys focusing on stigma were administered to people living in East Tennessee in the target populations. A total of 135 people in the special populations were surveyed; 65 identified as transgender and 70 identified as People Living with HIV & AIDS (PLWHA). One person identified as being in the intersection of both groups. The survey consisted of questions where respondents expressed how feelings of stigma related to HIV status or being transgender kept them from healthcare and health seeking behaviors. People living with HIV and AIDS experience profound levels of external and internal stigma which are comparable to the level of stigma experienced by members of the Transgender community as evidenced by the similar survey responses.

Proposal Summary

The lack of representation of people from Appalachia is evidenced by a lack of published research by a review of electronic journals and databases. People living with HIV and AIDS and also members of the transgender community are also underrepresented in research. This research on stigma in special populations in Appalachia sought to add to the body of knowledge on stigma and also to create tools to reduce stigma. People living with HIV and AIDS, and also members of the transgender community, are some of society’s most vulnerable due to healthcare disparities, unstable housing, and even lower health insurance rates. By creating tools to reduce stigma, people experiencing it may have better health outcomes and lower health disparities. The research began with a search of several electronic databases as well as key publications in infectious disease, gender studies, public health, and psychology. Reviews of literature, as well as past key informant interviews were utilized for the current study. After researching previous literature and observing the lack of data in Appalachia I created surveys to administer to people in East TN. Original surveys focusing on stigma were administered to people living in East Tennessee in the target populations. 135 people were surveyed; 65 identified as transgender and 70 identified as People Living with HIV & AIDS. The survey consisted of questions where respondents expressed how feelings of stigma related to HIV status or being transgender kept them from accessing healthcare and health seeking behaviors. The levels of stigma were similar as evidenced by their responses reporting high levels of stigma. The populations studied experience internal and external stigmas that create barriers to healthcare and linkage to care. Healthcare providers can actively reduce stigma by creating an empathetic and judgment free environment for clients in special populations. In Appalachia, healthcare providers need more training to better address the needs of their transgender patients and patients living with HIV. As a result of this research training tools were created and implemented in rural mental health clinics, a hospital, mental health programs (Psychosocial Rehabilitation centers, peer support centers, and supportive housing for people with severe persistent mental illness) and other clinics in Appalachia.

Relevance And Significance

Members of the transgender community experience stigma in similar levels to people living with HIV and AIDS. Both groups experience discrimination in key determinants of health outcomes such as stable housing, insurance, and employment. The people at the intersectionality of both special populations experience even higher levels of stigma including: internal, external, experienced, and anticipated stigma.

Session Format

Poster Session

Keywords

stigma, HIV, appalachian, transgender, rural

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Sep 21st, 5:30 PM Sep 21st, 7:30 PM

Stigma In the Appalachian HIV and Transgender Communities

New surveys focusing on stigma were administered to people living in East Tennessee in the target populations. A total of 135 people in the special populations were surveyed; 65 identified as transgender and 70 identified as People Living with HIV & AIDS (PLWHA). One person identified as being in the intersection of both groups. The survey consisted of questions where respondents expressed how feelings of stigma related to HIV status or being transgender kept them from healthcare and health seeking behaviors. People living with HIV and AIDS experience profound levels of external and internal stigma which are comparable to the level of stigma experienced by members of the Transgender community as evidenced by the similar survey responses.