Stigma within health care settings: an exploration of the experiences of people living with HIV and AIDS
Wichman, Heidi Sandra
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South Africa has one of the highest HIV and AIDS prevalence rates and the pandemic shows no signs of abating. Challenges facing South Africa in combating this pandemic include the social responses of fear, denial, stigma and discrimination. Stigma related to HIV and AIDS poses a major barrier to treating and managing HIV and AIDS. Stigma is defined as involving an attribute which significantly discredits an individual in the eyes of others or society. This attribute is therefore seen by others as being negative, something which devalues, spoils or flaws an individual. Perceived or felt stigma is described as being the anticipation of rejection and the shame of having the stigma, whereas enacted stigma refers to actual incidents of discrimination. The aim of this study was to determine, from the experiences of people living with HIV and AIDS, whether stigma manifests within the South African primary health care system.