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HIV and AIDS-related stigma and discrimination: a conceptual framework and implications for action


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  • Parker, Richard
  • Aggleton, Peter
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    Internationally, there has been a recent resurgence of interest in HIV and AIDS-related stigma and discrimination, triggered at least in part by growing recognition that negative social responses to the epidemic remain pervasive even in seriously affected communities. Yet, rarely are existing notions of stigma and discrimination interrogated for their conceptual adequacy and their usefulness in leading to the design of effective programmes and interventions. Taking as its starting point, the classic formulation of stigma as a 'significantly discrediting' attribute, but moving beyond this to conceptualize stigma and stigmatization as intimately linked to the reproduction of social difference, this paper offers a new framework by which to understand HIV and AIDS-related stigma and its effects. It so doing, it highlights the manner in which stigma feeds upon, strengthens and reproduces existing inequalities of class, race, gender and sexuality. It highlights the limitations of individualistic modes of stigma alleviation and calls instead for new programmatic approaches in which the resistance of stigmatized individuals and communities is utilized as a resource for social change.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 57 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 1 (July)
    Pages: 13-24

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:57:y:2003:i:1:p:13-24

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    Keywords: HIV/AIDS Stigma Discrimination;


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    Cited by:
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    2. Syvertsen, Jennifer L. & Robertson, Angela M. & Rolón, María Luisa & Palinkas, Lawrence A. & Martinez, Gustavo & Rangel, M. Gudelia & Strathdee, Steffanie A., 2013. "“Eyes that don't see, heart that doesn't feel”: Coping with sex work in intimate relationships and its implications for HIV/STI prevention," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 1-8.
    3. O’Donnell, Jenny & Weitz, Tracy A. & Freedman, Lori R., 2011. "Resistance and vulnerability to stigmatization in abortion work," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(9), pages 1357-1364.
    4. Rance, Jake & Newland, Jamee & Hopwood, Max & Treloar, Carla, 2012. "The politics of place(ment): Problematising the provision of hepatitis C treatment within opiate substitution clinics," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 245-253.
    5. Macq, Jean & Solis, Alejandro & Martinez, Guillermo & Martiny, Patrick & Dujardin, Bruno, 2005. "An exploration of the social stigma of tuberculosis in five "municipios" of Nicaragua to reflect on local interventions," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 205-217, October.
    6. Thomas Porter & Jane Chuma & Catherine Molyneux, 2009. "Barriers to managing chronic illness among urban households in coastal Kenya," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(2), pages 271-290.
    7. Ama de-Graft Aikins, 2012. "Familiarising the unfamiliar: cognitive polyphasia, emotions and the creation of social representations," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 48049, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    8. Ama de-Graft Aikins, 2006. "Reframing applied disease stigma research: a multilevel analysis of diabetes stigma in Ghana," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 49551, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Bluthenthal, Ricky N. & Palar, Kartika & Mendel, Peter & Kanouse, David E. & Corbin, Dennis E. & Derose, Kathryn Pitkin, 2012. "Attitudes and beliefs related to HIV/AIDS in urban religious congregations: Barriers and opportunities for HIV-related interventions," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(10), pages 1520-1527.
    10. World Bank, 2003. "Averting AIDS Crises in Eastern Europe and Central Asia : A Regional Support Strategy," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15114, January.
    11. Beatriz Casais & João F. Proença, 2010. "Inhibitions and implications associated with celebrity participation in social marketing programs focusing on HIV prevention: an exploratory research," FEP Working Papers 360, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    12. de Vries, Jantina & Jallow, Muminatou & Williams, Thomas N. & Kwiatkowski, Dominic & Parker, Michael & Fitzpatrick, Raymond, 2012. "Investigating the potential for ethnic group harm in collaborative genomics research in Africa: Is ethnic stigmatisation likely?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(8), pages 1400-1407.
    13. Metzl, Jonathan M. & Hansen, Helena, 2014. "Structural competency: Theorizing a new medical engagement with stigma and inequality," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 126-133.
    14. Li, Li & Ji, Guoping & Liang, Li-Jung & Ding, Yingying & Tian, Junru & Xiao, Yongkang, 2011. "A multilevel intervention for HIV-affected families in China: Together for Empowerment Activities (TEA)," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(8), pages 1214-1221.
    15. Winskell, Kate & Hill, Elizabeth & Obyerodhyambo, Oby, 2011. "Comparing HIV-related symbolic stigma in six African countries: Social representations in young people’s narratives," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(8), pages 1257-1265.
    16. Li, Li & Lin, Chunqing & Wu, Zunyou & Scott Comulada, W. & Ding, Yingying, 2012. "Regional differences in HIV prevalence and individual attitudes among service providers in China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 283-287.
    17. Yang, Lawrence H. & Chen, Fang-pei & Sia, Kathleen Janel & Lam, Jonathan & Lam, Katherine & Ngo, Hong & Lee, Sing & Kleinman, Arthur & Good, Byron, 2014. "“What matters most:” A cultural mechanism moderating structural vulnerability and moral experience of mental illness stigma," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 84-93.
    18. Fernando Molero & Patricia Recio & Cristina García-Ael & María Fuster & Pilar Sanjuán, 2013. "Measuring Dimensions of Perceived Discrimination in Five Stigmatized Groups," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 114(3), pages 901-914, December.
    19. Lewis, Sophie & Thomas, Samantha L. & Blood, R. Warwick & Castle, David J. & Hyde, Jim & Komesaroff, Paul A., 2011. "How do obese individuals perceive and respond to the different types of obesity stigma that they encounter in their daily lives? A qualitative study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(9), pages 1349-1356.
    20. Valerie Møller & Ida Erstad & Dalinyebo Zani, 2010. "Drinking, Smoking, and Morality: Do ‘Drinkers and Smokers’ Constitute a Stigmatised Stereotype or a Real TB Risk Factor in the Time of HIV/AIDS?," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 98(2), pages 217-238, September.
    21. Daftary, Amrita, 2012. "HIV and tuberculosis: The construction and management of double stigma," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(10), pages 1512-1519.
    22. Logie, Carmen H. & Newman, Peter A. & Chakrapani, Venkatesan & Shunmugam, Murali, 2012. "Adapting the minority stress model: Associations between gender non-conformity stigma, HIV-related stigma and depression among men who have sex with men in South India," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(8), pages 1261-1268.
    23. Gausset, Quentin & Mogensen, Hanne Overgaard & Yameogo, Wambi Maurice Evariste & Berthé, Abdramane & Konaté, Blahima, 2012. "The ambivalence of stigma and the double-edged sword of HIV/AIDS intervention in Burkina Faso," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(7), pages 1037-1044.


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