A qualitative study of stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Mai Doan Anh Thi, Deborah Bain Brickley, Dang Thi Nhat Vinh, Donn J Colby, Annette H Sohn, Nguyen Quang Trung, Le Truong Giang, Jeffrey S Mandel
AIDS and Behavior 2008, 12 (4): S63-70
Stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) are a pressing problem in Vietnam, in particular because of propaganda associating HIV with the "social evils" of sex work and drug use. There is little understanding of the causes and sequelae of stigma and discrimination against PLHIV in Vietnam. Fifty-three PLHIV participated in focus group discussions in Ho Chi Minh City. Nearly all participants experienced some form of stigma and discrimination. Causes included exaggerated fears of HIV infection, misperceptions about HIV transmission, and negative representations of PLHIV in the media. Participants faced problems getting a job, perceived unfair treatment in the workplace and experienced discrimination in the healthcare setting. Both discrimination and support were reported in the family environment. There is a need to enforce laws against discrimination and provide education to decrease stigma against PLHIV in Vietnam. Recent public campaigns encouraging compassion toward PLHIV and less discrimination from healthcare providers who work with PLHIV have been encouraging.

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