Experiences of stigma among people living with HIV accessing care through the National Health Service

C Ferraro1 , L Benton1 , I Lut1 , A Hudson1 , P Kirwan2 , J Jefferies2 , V Delpech2 , S Okala2 , W Sseruma3 , R Mbewe3 , J Morton3 , G Valiotis4 , C Kunda5 , Z Jamal5 , I Reeves6 , M Nelson7 , M Ross8 , A Wolton8 , H Cardwell9 and L Sharp9 1 Family Planning Association, London, UK; 2 Public Health England, London, UK; 3 StigmaIndexUK, London, UK; 4 HIV Scotland, UK; 5 NAZ, London, UK; 6 Homerton University Hospital, London, UK; 7 Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, UK; 8 Clinic Q, London, UK; 9 Glasgow University, UK

Background: Stigma impacts on wellbeing and the quality of healthcare. We report on the experience of disclosure and stigma among people living with HIV accessing health care through the National Health Service (NHS).

Method: The STIGMASurveyUK 2015 was co-designed by people living with HIV, clinicians and researchers. People were recruited through over 120 cross sector community organisations and 47 HIV clinics to complete an online survey about their experience of living with HIV. Responses were anonymised, stored securely and analysed with engagement from community members.

Results: Of 1528 (97%) people who completed the healthcare section, 1152 (76%) were male (948 [82%] identified as men who have sex with men) and 344 (23%) female (322 [93%] identified as heterosexual). Mean age was 44 years (range 18–83 years). 1393 (91%) people had disclosed their HIV status to their GP and 863 (56%) to their dentist: 54% and 57% respectively ª 2016 The Authors HIV Medicine ª 2016 British HIV Association, HIV Medicine, 17 (Suppl. 1), 14–71 30 Poster Abstracts of those who had disclosed felt supported during the process. Over the past 12 months, a high proportion of people reported being worried about being treated differently in a range of health care settings, up to one in eight avoided their GP and dentists and one in twenty reported being refused or delayed treatment (Fig 1). 14% had heard negative comments from a healthcare worker about their HIV status or people living with HIV.

Conclusion: In 2015, people living with HIV continue to experience stigma in the health care setting and some consequently avoid care. Culturally specific educational programmes aimed at health care professionals are needed to reduce experienced stigma and discrimination.