Translation and validation of the Short HIV Stigma scale in Brazilian Portuguese

Paula M. Luz, Thiago S. Torres, Celline C. Almeida-Brasil, Luana M.S. Marins, Daniel R.B. Bezerra, Valdilea G. Veloso, Beatriz Grinsztejn, Daphna Harel, Brett D. Thombs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: HIV-related stigma, or the degree to which people living with HIV endorse negative stereotypes associated with HIV, is associated with poor continuum of care outcomes. We translated the 12-item Short HIV Stigma scale and evaluated its psychometric properties in a Brazilian context with regard to construct validity and reliability. Methods: The first step included translation, back-translation, evaluation, peer review, and pre-testing of the Short HIV Sigma scale developed by Reinius et al. (Health Qual Life Outcomes 15(1):115, 2017). The second step involved piloting the scale in three convenience samples of adults recruited online through advertisements on different platforms: Grindr (October/2019) and Hornet (February-March/2020), geospatial network apps for sexual encounters for gay, bisexuals and other men who have sex with men, and social media apps (Facebook and WhatsApp, October/2019). The psychometric evaluation included confirmatory factor analysis, differential item functioning using the Multiple-Indicator Multiple-Cause model, and correlations between subscale scores and antiretroviral treatment use and adherence. Reliability was assessed using Cronbach's alpha, and ordinal alpha and omega from the polychoric correlation matrix. Results: In total, 114, 164, and 1824 participants completed the measure items through Grindr, social media, and Hornet, respectively. We confirmed a 4-factor structure with factors for personalized stigma (3 items), disclosure concerns (3 items), concerns with public attitudes (3 items), and negative self-image (3 items). Small differential item functioning with respect to sample was found for one item ("I feel guilty because I have HIV"), which did not substantively influence estimates of latent factor scores. Grindr and Hornet's participants scored significantly higher than social media participants on all factors except personalized stigma. Higher subscale scores correlated with antiretroviral treatment use among participants from Hornet and with lower treatment adherence in participants from Grindr and Hornet. Reliability as measured by Cronbach's alpha, ordinal alpha and omega were 0.83, 0.88 and 0.93 for the entire scale. Discussion: The Brazilian Portuguese version of the Short HIV Stigma scale had satisfactory psychometric properties with present results suggesting that scores from different samples may be compared without concern that measurement differences substantively influence results though further studies with greater representation of women and heterosexual men are warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number322
JournalHealth and Quality of Life Outcomes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2 2020


  • Brazil
  • HIV-related stigma
  • Portuguese
  • Psychometric properties
  • Validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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