Author(s): Mbonu NC, van den Borne B, De Vries NK, Mbonu NC, van den Borne B, De Vries NK
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Abstract The aim of this literature review is to elucidate what is known about HIV/AIDS and stigma in Sub-Saharan Africa. Literature about HIV/AIDS and stigma in Sub-Saharan Africa was systematically searched in Pubmed, Medscape, and Psycinfo up to March 31, 2009. No starting date limit was specified. The material was analyzed using Gilmore and Somerville's (1994) four processes of stigmatizing responses: the definition of the problem HIV/AIDS, identification of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), linking HIV/AIDS to immorality and other negative characteristics, and finally behavioural consequences of stigma (distancing, isolation, discrimination in care). It was found that the cultural construction of HIV/AIDS, based on beliefs about contamination, sexuality, and religion, plays a crucial role and contributes to the strength of distancing reactions and discrimination in society. Stigma prevents the delivery of effective social and medical care (including taking antiretroviral therapy) and also enhances the number of HIV infections. More qualitative studies on HIV/AIDS stigma including stigma in health care institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa are recommended.
This article was published in J Trop Med
and referenced in Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research