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Positive Peers Mobile Application Reduces Stigma Perception Among Young People Living With HIV


This article presents results of a mixed-methods study that included a prospective survey and in-depth interviewing with young adults living with HIV (aged 13-34). All (n = 128) used the Positive Peers mobile application and reported demographic data, perceived stigma, and other psychosocial variables at enrollment, 6 months, and 12 months. Select participants (n = 15) described their personal experiences with stigma and with using the Positive Peers app. All interviews were audio-recorded and verbatim transcripts analyzed using grounded theory methods.

We assessed changes in perceived stigma over the study period, and with respect to race, and ethnicity. Baseline and 6-month stigma scores were higher for White, and Other ethnicity persons relative to Black participants. However, at the 12-month time point, there were no statistical differences in stigma scores based on race or ethnicity. Interviews revealed that Positive Peers users perceived the app as a nondiscriminatory, inclusive community. Some suggested that this sense of belonging had a restorative effect on negative self-image.


Step, M.M., Knight, K., McMillen Smith, J., Lewis, S.A., Russell, T.J., & Avery, A.K. (2020). Positive Peers mobile application reduces stigma perception among young people living With HIV. Health Promotion Practice21(5), 744-754. doi:10.1177/1524839920936244

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