African American women encounter disproportionately high rates of HIVrelated morbidity and mortality which is partially mediated through stigma and its effect on HIV treatment adherence.
To assess the effect of the UNITY peer support workshop on HIV-related stigma among African American women living with HIV, compared to a time and attention control group.
African American women living with HIV were randomized to the UNITY workshop or a breast cancer education control group. Interventions took place in HIV clinics in Chicago, IL and Birmingham, AL. Participants self-reported HIV-related stigma and social support at baseline, post-workshop, and 4 follow-up visits over 12 months.
239 participants (UNITY n=124; breast cancer education n=115) were assessed over one year. Both arms experienced decreases in mean stigma scores over time. Our model estimated that allocation to UNITY was not associated with a significant difference in stigma points over time. Post-hoc analysis suggested that preceding increases in perceived social support are associated with decreased HIVrelated stigma in this population.
Although UNITY did not significantly reduce HIV-related stigma in this population, our findings suggest that social support may be key to HIV-related stigma reduction.