Stigma is associated with health conditions that drive disease burden in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), including HIV, tuberculosis, mental health problems, epilepsy, and substance use disorders. However, the literature discussing the relationship between stigma and health outcomes is largely fragmented within disease-specific siloes, thus limiting the identification of common moderators or mechanisms through which stigma potentiates adverse health outcomes as well as the development of broadly relevant stigma mitigation interventions.
We conducted a scoping review to provide a critical overview of the breadth of research on stigma for each of the five aforementioned conditions in LMICs, including their methodological strengths and limitations.
Across the range of diseases and disorders studied, stigma is associated with poor health outcomes, including help- and treatment-seeking behaviors. Common methodological limitations include a lack of prospective studies, non-representative samples resulting in limited generalizability, and a dearth of data on mediators and moderators of the relationship between stigma and health outcomes.
Implementing effective stigma mitigation interventions at scale necessitates transdisciplinary longitudinal studies that examine how stigma potentiates the risk for adverse outcomes for high-burden health conditions in community-based samples in LMICs.
Kane, J. C., Elafros, M. A., Murray, S. M., Mitchell, E. M., Augustinavicius, J. L., Causevic, S., & Baral, S. D. (2019). A scoping review of health-related stigma outcomes for high-burden diseases in low-and middle-income countries. BMC medicine, 17(1), 1-40.