HIV-positive people's perceptions of discrimination in health care settings based on their serostatus dropped from 24% in 1996 to 15% in 2011-2013, a study published in AIDS showed.
Researchers compared data from two similar surveys conducted at timepoints in 1996 and 2011-2013, yielding a total of 2,859 respondents, most of whom were men. More participants were white (1,398) than African American (955) or Latino (415).
The reduction in perceived discrimination during the study period may be related to the introduction of U.S. recommendations for including HIV prevention in routine medical care and public acceptance of social issues experienced by some groups affected by the virus, study authors hypothesized.
However, no reduction was evident among people age 50 or older, those with CD4 cell counts ≥ 500 cells/mm3, or people who identified their ethnicity as "other" (a category that included Asian Americans and Native Americans).
While the lower overall discrimination rates are encouraging, there is room for improvement, study authors said. They called for better communication training for health care providers and staff and an improved understanding of the settings where discrimination occurs.