D.H. de Vries
A. Mejia Lopez
- The Vicious Cycle of Stigma and Disclosure in “Self-Management”
- A Study among the Dutch HIV Population
- AIDS Education and Prevention
- Volume | Issue number
- 28 | 6
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Though HIV has become a chronic disease, HIV-related stigma has remained. This article reports on a study that asked how Dutch people living with HIV-AIDS (PLWHA) experienced stigmatization and devised self-management strategies. We used qualitative findings from a survey questionnaire conducted among 468 Dutch HIV-positive people (3% of the population), using a stratified research sample. Findings show how respondents experience relatively high public (30%), self- (26%) and structural (15%) stigma. At the same time, results show the importance of selective disclosure as a self-management strategy. About half the respondents disclose selectively, while 16% does not disclose at all. We conclude that many Dutch PLHWA remain caught up in a vicious cycle of stigma and nondisclosure. To break the cycle, respondents point at the importance of stigma reduction campaigns using actual PLWHA. We highlight the importance of workplace programs and training of medical professionals.
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