Document Type


Publication Date



Background: AIDS-related stigma and mental disorders are the most common conditions in people living with HIV (PLHIV). We therefore conducted this study to examine the association of AIDS-related stigma and discrimination with mental disorders among PLHIV in Cambodia.

Methods: A two-stage cluster sampling method was used to select 1,003 adult PLHIV from six provinces. The People Living with HIV Stigma Index was used to measure stigma and discrimination, and a short version of general health questionnaire (GHQ-12) was used to measure mental disorders. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was conducted.

Results: The reported experiences of discrimination in communities in the past 12 months ranged from 0.8% for reports of being denied health services to 42.3% for being aware of being gossiped about. Internal stigma was also common ranging from 2.8% for avoiding going to a local clinic and/or hospital to 59.6% for deciding not to have (more) children. The proportions of PLHIV who reported fear of stigma and discrimination ranged from 13.9% for fear of being physically assaulted to 34.5% for fear of being gossiped about. The mean score of GHQ-12 was 3.2 (SD = 2.4). After controlling for several potential confounders, higher levels of mental disorders (GHQ-12>4) remained significantly associated with higher levels of experiences of stigma and discrimination in family and communities (AOR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.4–2.6), higher levels of internal stigma (AOR = 1.7, 95% CI = 1.2–2.3), and higher levels of fear of stigma and discrimination in family and communities (AOR = 1.5, 95% CI = 1.1– 2.2).

Conclusions: AIDS-related stigma and discrimination among PLHIV in Cambodia are common and may have potential impacts on their mental health conditions. These findings indicate a need for community-based interventions to reduce stigma and discrimination in the general public and to help PLHIV to cope with this situation.

Publisher's Statement

Originally published in PLOS One, 10(3) [Article e0121461]. Licensed under CC BY 4.0. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121461