The Stigma Of Hiv/Aids Essay

3345 words - 14 pages

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., ...view middle of the document...

The person suffering from stigmatized diseases are assumed to have violated certain social norms and taboos and thus responsible for it” (Mawar et al., 2004, p.472). Therefore, “people living with HIV/AIDS are highly stigmatized in many societies since AIDS is considered a fatal disease and, in most situations, the infection of HIV is related to some socially undesireable behaviors”(Zhao et al, 2010, p. 275). Certain behaviors puts individuals at high risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, for instance anal sex, prostitution, sharing needles and the use of any drugs that impairs judgment; behaviors like those are considered deviant in society, which causes negative attitudes from society. Other factors contribute to the perceived stigma of HIV/AIDS such as lack of knowledge of the disease at a social level, misconception of treatment. In addition, PLWHA are often seen as being held responsible for having the disease. According to Goode (2011), many observers believe it is unfair to blame AIDS suffers for their plight” however, “the public holds a condemnatory attitude” (p.304). In other words, society may place judgment and disapproving attitudes towards PLWHA. Erich Goode (2011), an American sociologist, also explained how individuals with strong religious beliefs can pass judgment, by stating, “early in the AIDS epidemic, fundamental Christian spokespersons claimed that the disease was God’s retribution for engaging in wicked behavior” (p. 304). All those factors aids to the negative response from society towards PLWHA.
Enacted stigma, those factors of perceived stigma also cause discrimination from society. “Enacted stigma most often encompasses discrimination that takes place at an institution (e.g., being refused healthcare) and interpersonal discrimination (e.g., no longer being invited to community gatherings)”(Horizons Operation Research, 2013). Additional consequences are the negative reactions from society such as “banning entry of HIV infected individuals to isolating an individual in the family, deserting s pregnant wife on knowing her HIV status in the hospital, or removing a person from his job, or even denying a child admission in school” (Mawar, at al., 2004, p.472). As well as, being fired from work, being verbally abused or mistreated in a wrongful manner, denied of health service and etc.
Along with perceived and enacted stigma, self-stigma evolves and the negative consequences a PLWHA and society arises. For instance, “intense HIV Stigma within ethnic/racial minority communities has led many PLWHA to feel uneasy about disclosing their status to sexual partners”, as well their family, friends and health care providers (Rao et al, 2006, p. 266). In other words, self- stigma causes individuals with HIV/AIDS not to disclose their status of health due to the fear of being rejected by society. “Stigma also results in those who think that they may be infected to forgo testing, thus contributing to the spread of the disease” (Davidson,...

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