Internal Stigma In Bangladesh Case Study

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The number of AIDS patients has been on the rise in Bangladesh at fast pace. The emergence of HIV would be a disaster that poverty-stricken Bangladesh could ill-afford. With the latest figure, the government recorded people living with HIV stood at 3242 since the first case was detected in 1989. However, UN estimates the number to be between 8,000 and 16,000, which means many are left undetected and untreated. There are many factors those are responsible for this large number of undetected and untreated cases. Stigma is one of the major factors which is impeding the treatment of existing cases and prevention programs. Several authors have divided stigma into two types: ‘internal/perceived/felt’ stigma and ‘external/enacted’ stigma. This study was conducted with an aim to know the prevalence of internal stigma among people living with HIV in Bangladesh and to determine the factors related to internal stigma. This study conducted a quantitative survey of 238 adult HIV positive patients and followed the stigma index questionnaire developed by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) in partnership with the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), and the International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW). Data were collected by using face-to-face interview technique. To determine the prevalence of internal stigma among these 238 patients, an internalized stigma scale was developed. This scale included 15 questions from the section “Internal stigma (the way you think about yourself) and your fear” of the stigma index questionnaire. These 15 items covered three domains of internalized stigma (self-acceptance, self-exclusion, and social withdrawal). The fir... ... middle of paper ... ... has some limitations, the study endeavored to know the prevalence of internalized stigma and the factors linked to internalized stigma among a sample of 238 people living with HIV in Bangladesh. This study revealed that most of the people living with HIV feel some sort of stigma in their life. The probable cause of this stigma may be the widely-perceived negative risk factors associated with HIV/AIDS (e.g. promiscuity, drug-use) among both HIV patients and general population. The internalized stigma affects the psychological well-being of people living with HIV, impairs the treatment and causes disruptions of social relationships. To gain control over the stigma among HIV patients, more research should be conducted on this issue and comprehensive program, mass media campaign on HIV/AIDS and support group may also reduce stigma among the people living with HIV/AIDS.

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