n Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery - Experiences of HIV / AIDS stigma of persons living with HIV / AIDS and nurses involved in their care from five African countries

Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1682-5055


The concept of stigma has received significant attention in recent years in the HIV / AIDS literature. Although there is some change towards the positive, AIDS still remains a significantly stigmatized condition. AIDS stigma and discrimination continue to influence people living with and affected by HIV (PLWA), as well as their health-care providers. Unless stigma is conquered, the illness will not be defeated. Due to the burden that HIV / AIDS places on people living in Africa, a five-year project entitled Perceived AIDS Stigma : A Multinational African Study was undertaken. The focus of the first phase of this project was on exploring and describing the meaning and effect of stigma on PLWA from the experiences of PLWA and the nurses involved in their care in five African countries : Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania. An exploratory descriptive qualitative research design was used to explore and describe the experience of stigma through the critical incident method. Purposive voluntary sampling was utilized. Forty-three focus group discussions were held with respondents to relate incidences which they themselves observed, as well as those that they themselves experienced in the community and in families. The transcribed data was analyzed through the technique of open coding using the NVivo 2.0 analysis package. Three types of stigma (received stigma, internal stigma and associated stigma) and several dimensions for each of these types of stigma emerged from the data. Recommendations were made to pursue these findings further.

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