HIV and drug related stigma and risk-taking behaviors among people who inject drugs: a systematic review and meta-analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • The impact of HIV-related stigma on people living with HIV has been well documented, but there have been few studies examining how drug-related stigma impacts risk-taking in the lives of people who inject drugs (PWID). This meta-analysis aimed to determine HIV and drug-related stigma and the association it has with risk-taking behaviors among PWID. We searched PubMed, Science Direct, Web of Science, and Cochrane electronic databases independently in March 2019. After reviewing for any study duplicates the full-text of selected articles were assessed for eligibility using Population, Intervention, Comparator, Outcomes (PICO) criteria. We used fixed and random-effects meta-analysis models to estimate the pooled prevalence, pooled odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals. After a detailed assessment, a total of 14 studies containing 13,689 participants met the eligibility criteria. Among the potential risk factors: employment status, depression and sharing injecting paraphernalia had a significant relationship with HIV and drug stigma among PWIDs respectively (OR = 0.78, 95%CI = 0.62-0.98), (OR = 1.84, 95%CI = 1.45-2.33) and (OR = 2.20, 95%CI = 1.84-1.63). Illicit drug use related stigma was found to be associated with several concurrent effects. The impact of stigma should be considered in the development of drug use prevention strategies. Perceived stigma is correlated with numerous negative consequences in other populations including people living with HIV/AIDS. These data suggest this could also be generalized to people who inject drugs because it seems that individuals with internalized stigma experience drug dependence, reduced comfort in seeking help from services and higher rates of depression.


  • Bayat, AH
  • Mohammadi, R
  • Moradi-Joo, M
  • Bayani, A
  • Ahounbar, E
  • Higgs, Peter
  • Hemmat, M
  • Haghgoo, A
  • Armoon, B

publication date

  • 2020