HIV infection is associated with stigma and discrimination in various cultural settings. A considerable amount of studies have shown significant correlations between perceived stigma, stress, depression and lower perceived quality of life (e. g. Diaz et al., 2001; Whetten et al., 2008). Stigma has been shown to have a negative impact on HIV prevention and treatment efforts. The relationship between perceived stigma and low HIV-disclosure rates increased risky behaviors and reduced testing-seeking; also, distrust in health care providers or poor adherence to antiretroviral therapy is well documented in the literature (e. g. Ogden & Nyblade, 2005; Obermeyer & Osborn, 2007). The aim of this paper is to explore the dimensions of perceived stigma in a sample of HIV-infected patients. HIV stigma is defined as a social construct, referring to the devalued status of people living with HIV. In our analysis we have adopted a conceptual framework that describes four distinct components of stigma: enacted stigma – which refers to the overt acts of discrimination directed toward an individual because of his/her stigmatized status, normative stigma – the subjective awareness of stigma, internalized stigma – referring to the extent to which an individual accepts stigma, and vicarious stigma – referring to those beliefs and emotions acquired through social communication (Scambler, 1989; Stewart, 2008). A self rating questionnaire was administered to each participant, after requesting her/his informed consent. The data were discussed in relation with socio-demographical variables (age, sex, education, employment and marital status, length of time since HIV-diagnosis). Potential implications for HIV prevention and treatment outcome were also explored.
|Keywords:||HIV Infection, Perceived Stigma, Discrimination|
University of Alba Iulia, Alba Iulia, Romania
“Victor Babes” University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Timisoara, Timisoara, Romania
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