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Keywords:

  • Africa;
  • focus groups;
  • HIV/AIDS;
  • model;
  • nursing;
  • qualitative research;
  • stigma

Abstract

Title. A conceptual model of HIV/AIDS stigma from five African countries

Aim.  This paper is a report on the development of a conceptual model delineating contexts and processes of HIV/AIDS stigma as reported by persons living with HIV/AIDS and nurses from African countries. It is part of a larger study to increase understanding of HIV/AIDS stigma.

Background.  Researchers have defined stigma, explored determinants and outcomes of stigma and attempted to measure its multiple dimensions. This literature is difficult to synthesize, and often does not distinguish adequately between experiences of stigma and its causes and outcomes.

Method.  Forty-three focus groups were held with persons living with HIV/AIDS and nurses in five African countries in 2004. Focus group recordings were transcribed and coded. The data were organized into a conceptual model of HIV/AIDS stigma.

Findings.  Two components were identified in the data: contextual factors – environment, healthcare system, agents – that influence and affect stigma and the stigma process itself. The stigma process included four dimensions: triggers of stigma, stigmatizing behaviours, types of stigma and the outcomes of stigma.

Conclusion.  A conceptual model is presented that delineates the dynamic nature of stigma as reported by study participants. The model may be used to identify areas appropriate for the design and testing of stigma reduction interventions that have a goal of reducing the burden of HIV/AIDS stigma.