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HIV/AIDS

Updated 26 June 2014

Understanding HIV stigma essential

There is a need for more effective interventions in dealing with HIV/Aids stigma as education is not enough, says a recent report by the Human Sciences Research Council.

There is a need for more effective interventions in dealing with HIV/Aids stigma as education is not enough – legal measures and activism are necessary to challenge the power relationships that sustain stigma and discrimination.

Understanding HIV/Aids stigma – a theoretical and methodological analysis, emanating from a Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) study designed to develop stigma research in southern Africa.

Assistance in management of HIV/Aids
Through reviewing literature on disease stigma, that focuses on but is not restricted to HIV/Aids, the monograph aims to assist management of the HIV/Aids epidemic by:
  • developing more sophisticated theoretical approaches to understanding stigma;
  • developing research methodologies that better understand the historical and cultural specificity of stigma and its impact; and
  • informing the development of better anti-stigma interventions.

Several issues explored
Working from this premise, the first seven chapters feature analyses of recent academic work on disease stigma, and include research that explores:

  • Prejudice and the relationship between racism, sexism, disability, HIV/Aids and other medical conditions;
  • The link between stigma and power;
  • Self-stigmatisation;
  • Differential treatment and discrimination; and
  • Instrumental and symbolic stigma.

Methodological approaches proposed
The report further proposes a variety of methodological approaches. For example, conventional tools such as interviews and surveys could be integrated with alternative methods like body and stigma mapping, and diary-keeping.

 

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