Objective: To investigate how an individual’s stigmatising beliefs towards people living with HIV are related to his or her own sexual risk and protective behaviours.
Methods: A cross sectional survey was conducted to assess HIV related stigmatising beliefs, risk sexual behaviours, and preventive practices among sexually experienced rural to urban migrants aged 18–30 years in 2002 in Beijing and Nanjing, two large Chinese cities.
Results: Among 2153 migrants, 7.2% reported having had more than one sexual partner in the previous month, 9.9% had commercial sex partners, and 12.5% had an episode of a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Only 18% reported frequently or always using condoms, with 20% sometimes or occasionally using them. 57% of the Chinese migrants were willing to take a voluntary HIV test, and 65% had HIV related stigmatising beliefs towards people living with HIV. Multiple logistic regression analysis depicts that individual’s stigmatising beliefs towards people with HIV were positively associated with having had an episode of an STD, having multiple sex partners, or having had commercial sex partners, and were negatively associated with condom use and the willingness to accept an HIV test.
Conclusion: The finding that one’s own stigmatising belief is a potential barrier to HIV related preventive practices highlights the difficulties and challenges in implementing behavioural interventions.
- STD, sexually transmitted diseases
- stigmatising beliefs
- sexual risk behaviours
- prevention practices
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Conflict of interest: None of the authors have any conflict of interest associated with this study.
Ethics approval: This research study was approved by the institutional review boards at West Virginia University and Wayne State University in the United States and the collaborating institutes in China (for example, Beijing Normal University and Nanjing University), and was conducted in full accordance with ethical principles, including the provisions of the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki, and free and informed consent was obtained from all human subjects.