Perceived Risk of HIV/AIDS Infection and Mental Well-Being in Rural Malawi

Ning Hsieh, University of Pennsylvania

Previous studies have shown that people living with HIV/AIDS have worse mental health than HIV-negative people both in developed and developing contexts. However, little has been done on the mental health of the general population who live in the HIV epidemic. In this paper, I examine the relationship between the perceived risk of HIV/AIDS infection and mental well-being among the general population in rural Malawi, a country with some of the highest HIV prevalence in the world. I examine how the relationship of interest is conditional on social support individuals have, as well as on the extent to which their community stigmatizes HIV/AIDS. I find that the perceived risk of HIV infection has a negative relationship with a 12-item mental component scale. This relationship is neither moderated by social support nor mediated through the local stigma level. It is, however, partially related to health, expected likelihood of death, and wealth.

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Presented in Poster Session 5