Comparative stigma of HIV/AIDS, SARS, and tuberculosis in Hong Kong

Winnie W.S. MAK, Phoenix K.H. MO, Yuen Man Rebecca CHEUNG, Jean WOO, Fanny M. CHEUNG, Dominic LEE

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114 Citations (Scopus)


This study compares public stigma towards three types of infectious diseases— human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), and tuberculosis (TB)—tests an attribution model of stigma, and explores the relationships between stigma and public attitudes towards government policies in Hong Kong. Using a population-based telephone survey, 3011 Hong Kong Chinese adults were randomly assigned to one of the three disease conditions and were interviewed about their attitudes and beliefs towards the assigned disease. Findings showed that public stigma was the highest towards HIV/AIDS, followed by TB and SARS. Using multi-sample model structural equation modeling, we found that the attributions of controllability, personal responsibility, and blame were applicable in explaining stigma across three disease types. Knowledge about the disease had no significant effect on stigma. Participants with less stigmatizing views had significantly more favorable attitudes towards government policies related to the diseases. The study is an important attempt in understanding the attributional mechanisms of stigma towards infectious diseases. Implications for stigma reduction and promotion of public awareness and disease prevention are discussed. Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1912-1922
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006


Mak, W. W. S., Mo, P. K. H., Cheung, R. Y. M., Woo, J., Cheung, F. M., & Lee, D. (2006). Comparative stigma of HIV/AIDS, SARS, and tuberculosis in Hong Kong. Social Science and Medicine, 63 (7), 1912-1922. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2006.04.016


  • Attribution
  • SARS
  • Tuberculosis
  • Hong Kong
  • Stigma


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