The Impact Of Discrimination And Stigma On HIV

865 Words 4 Pages
Contrasting cases of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in countries such as Nigeria and the United States reveal global similarities and discrepancies in healthcare standards and societal responses to HIV. Specifically, the impact of discrimination and stigma on HIV-positive women presents major social and economic challenges, resulting in poor self-opinion, loss of support networks and employment and inadequate healthcare. Within this context, the term ‘discrimination’ will describe the intentional rejection or ostracising of an individual or group based on prejudiced perceptions of their characteristics, or in this case their HIV status (Liamputtong, 2013, p. 5). Similarly, the term ‘stigma’ refers to the social separation of those …show more content…
Gender’ describes the cultural, mental and social factors that form the notion of male and female characteristics (Nwanna, 2010, p. 91). This differs from ‘sexuality’ which encompasses the beliefs, thoughts and practices involved in expressing one’s sexual experience, and is influenced by numerous external influencers (World Health Organisation, 2016, para. 5). To address the challenges of these social determinants, aspects of social progression such as women’s health initiatives and anti-discrimination policies have been initiated. However, the individual social and political climate of each country’s HIV discussion must be taken into account when assessing the extent of those changes’ …show more content…
For Nigerian women, their stigmatisation arises from HIV’s association with undesirable behaviours (Akanbi, 2010, p. 3210). Assumptions of promiscuous sexual behaviour are made about these female people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), therefore encouraging a discriminatory judgement that these women are therefore to blame for their status (Nwanna, 2010, p. 90). A similar phenomenon is evident towards HIV-positive women in the United States. In many cases, it is the male partner’s positive status that is the cause for the female’s contraction of HIV due to their sexual partner’s interactions within a highly affected community (Aziz, 2011, 232). However, it is ultimately women who endure specific gender-related stigma and are judged for their perceived “failure” to manage their own promiscuity, despite often maintaining monogamous relations (Colbert, Kim, Sereika, & Erlen, 2010, p. 304). It is key to acknowledge the relationship between traditional gender constructs and varying levels of HIV discrimination in both nations. As demonstrated by the differing social responses to HIV diagnosis, HIV-related stigma and judgement is closely tied to society’s perception of what is acceptable behaviour for each gender. Sexual promiscuity or assumptions of polygamy defy the traditional imagery of the female partner, therefore increasing the severity of the stigma and disapproval that

Related Documents