Journal of the Department of Behavioural Sciences
Vol. 2, (1), December 2012
HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination in the Commonwealth of Dominica: analysis of survey results
Roger McLean, Vyjanti Beharry, Christine Laptiste, Patricia Edwards-Wescott, Kimberly-Ann Gittens-Baynes, Charmaine Metivier

The objective of this paper is to ascertain the pervasiveness of HIV/AIDS-related Stigma and Discrimination (HSAD) in the Commonwealth of Dominica. Since HSAD is manifested at different levels - individual, group and societal, the paper focuses on the indicators that measure the socio-cognitive aspects of HSAD from the perspective of the different age groups within the general population based on the results from a Knowledge, Attitudes, Beliefs and Practices (KABP) survey.

Indicative data on perceived and experienced stigma are presented through the responses given to questions about reactions to and perceptions of persons whose HIV positive status is known. Other survey data collected were based on questions concerning the individual's willingness to have casual interactions with persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Results show that the level of perceived or anticipated stigma is higher among persons in the youngest age cohort of 15 to 19 years compared to members in older age groups. This age group also displayed more discriminating attitudes when questioned about various possible interactions with PLWHA, than respondents in the other age categories.

The social and economic implications of HSAD, which include loss of jobs, higher health care and social costs, increased levels of depression and other mental health effects are discussed within the socioeconomic context of the Commonwealth of Dominica.