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Addressing HIV-related stigma requires the use of psychometrically sound measures. However, despite the Berger HIV stigma scale (HSS) being among the most widely used measures for assessing HIV-related stigma, no study has systematically summarised its psychometric properties. This review investigated the psychometric properties of the HSS. A systematic review of articles published between 2001 and August 2021 was undertaken (CRD42020220305) following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Additionally, we searched the grey literature and screened the reference lists of the included studies. Of the total 1241 studies that were screened, 166 were included in the review, of which 24 were development and/or validation studies. The rest were observational or experimental studies. All the studies except two reported some aspect of the scale's reliability. The reported internal consistency ranged from acceptable to excellent (Cronbach's alpha ≥ 0.70) in 93.2% of the studies. Only eight studies reported test-retest reliability, and the reported reliability was adequate, except for one study. Only 36 studies assessed and established the HSS's validity. The HSS appears to be a reliable and valid measure of HIV-related stigma. However, the validity evidence came from only 36 studies, most of which were conducted in North America and Europe. Consequently, more validation work is necessary for more precise insights.

Original publication





International journal of environmental research and public health

Publication Date





Department of Public Health and Primary Care, Campus UZ-Ghent, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium.


Humans, HIV Infections, Reproducibility of Results, Psychometrics, Social Stigma, Surveys and Questionnaires