Examining HIV Stigma, Depression, Stress, and Recent Stimulant Use in a Sample of Sexual Minority Men Living with HIV: An Application of the Stigma and Substance Use Process Model

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



AIDS and Behavior






Depression; Enacted HIV stigma; Internalized HIV stigma; Stimulant use; Stress


Sexual minority men (SMM) with HIV are disproportionately impacted by stigma and mental health disorders. Guided by the Stigma and Substance Use Process Model, we evaluated how HIV stigma impacts mental health outcomes among SMM with HIV. Data were drawn from Thrive With Me, an RCT of an mHealth intervention targeting ART adherence among SMM with HIV. Path analyses tested the relationships between HIV stigma, depression, stress, and recent stimulant use. Overall, 49.1% (194/401) had depression symptoms, 68.8% (276/401) had moderate-to-high stress, and 28.1% (111/401) had detectable stimulant use in urine samples at baseline. In path analyses, baseline internalized HIV stigma was associated with depression and stress 5-months post-baseline and enacted stigma was associated with recent stimulant use 11-months post-baseline. We identified internalized and enacted HIV stigma, but not anticipated stigma, as potentially important intervention targets for stimulant use, depression, and stress among SMM with HIV.