Translation and cultural adaptation of drug use stigma and HIV stigma measures among people who use drugs in Tanzania

Linda B. Mlunde*, Lisa R. Hirschhorn, Laura Nyblade, Nan E. Rothrock, Erasto V. Mbugi, Judith T. Moskowitz, Sylvia Kaaya, Claudia Hawkins, Germana Leyna, Jessie K. Mbwambo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction People who use drugs (PWUD) experience stigma from multiple sources due to their drug use. HIV seroprevalence for PWUD in Tanzania is estimated to range from 18 to 25%. So, many PWUD will also experience HIV stigma. Both HIV and drug use stigma have negative health and social outcomes, it is therefore important to measure their magnitude and impact. However, no contextually and linguistically adapted measures are available to assess either HIV or drug use stigma among PWUD in Tanzania. In response, we translated and culturally adapted HIV and drug use stigma measures among Tanzanian PWUD and described that process in this study. Methods This was a cross-sectional study. We translated and adapted existing validated stigma measures by following a modified version of Wild’s ten steps for translation and adaptation. We also added new items on stigmatizing actions that were not included in the original measures. Following translation and back translation, we conducted 40 cognitive debriefs among 19 PWUD living with and 21 PWUD not living with HIV in Dar es Salaam to assess comprehension of the original and new items. For challenging items, we made adaptations and repeated cognitive debriefs among ten new PWUD participants where half of them were living with HIV. Results Most of the original items (42/54, 78%), response options and all items with new 12 stigmatizing actions were understood by participants. Challenges included response options for a few items; translation to Swahili; and differences in participants’ interpretation of Swahili words. We made changes to these items and the final versions were understood by PWUD participants. Conclusion Drug use and HIV stigma measures can successfully be translated and culturally adapted among Tanzanian PWUD living with and without HIV. We are currently conducting research to determine the stigma measures’ psychometric properties and we will report the results separately.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0292642
JournalPloS one
Issue number10 October
StatePublished - Oct 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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