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The Stigma of HIV/AIDS

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Erving Goffman, defined Stigma as “a dynamic process of devaluation that significantly discredits’ an individual in the eyes of others” (Sengupta, 2010, p. 1075). PLWHA are subject to stigmatization- that is, to the consequences of being designated as socially deviant (Sandelowski et al, 2009, p.274). In other words, stigma hinders individuals with HIV/AIDS; the stigma of HIV/AIDS is often associated with various groups such as African Americans, women, homosexuals, and intravenous drug users. In addition, people living with “HIV is stigmatized leading to severe social consequences related to their rights, health care services, freedom, self identity, and social interactions” (Mawar et al., 2004, p.472). Furthermore, “research has shown that HIV is viewed negatively than many other stigmatizing conditions such as mental illness and other physical health problems (Rao et al., 2006, p. 265). Stigma from society some people has express their feeling towards PLWHA, for instance, “1 in 6 admitted to feelings of “disgust” related to persons with AIDS” (Valdiserri, 2002, p 341). In this research of the stigma of HIV/AIDS has been extended to examine the “negative social attitudes (public perceived stigma), and discriminating behaviors (enacted stigma) towards stigmatized individuals, as well as self stigma, which consists of individuals “hiding their diagnosis or socially isolating themselves from others, or feeling ashamed of having a particular disease/condition” (Sengupta et al., 2010, p. 1075). These three forms of HIV/AIDS stigmatization are from the perspective and experience of the PLWHA. When perceived and enacted stigma are combined the negative consequences of self-stigma evolves, which plays a major role in well being of PLWHA...

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...towards PLWHA. HIV/AIDS is not a health problem but a social problem that that needs to be address. Since the debut of HIV/AIDS in the 1980’s, extreme measures and awareness has been taking into consideration for protective measures (i.e. safe sex). Somehow, PLWHA has became stigmatized and discriminated by society due the lack of knowledge of transmission. The effect of stigma has caused social isolation, depression, stress, and anxiety. Public stigma has also cause PLWHA to not disclose their current status to their friends, family, and co-workers because they fear rejection. Stigma also causes those who think that may have contracted HIV/AIDS no to seek testing or medical care which is link to spreading the disease. As stated previously, testing, social support and counseling are important for PLWHA and awareness to society will help reduce stigma towards PLWHA.
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