HIV and AIDS, stigma and AIDS support groups: perspectives from women living with HIV and AIDS in central Thailand

Pranee Liamputtong, Niphattra Haritavorn, Niyada Kiatying-Angsulee
Social Science & Medicine 2009, 69 (6): 862-8
In this paper, community attitudes toward women living with HIV and AIDS at the present time from the perspectives of women in Thailand are examined. We also look at strategies women use in order to deal with any stigma and discrimination that they may feel or experience in the community. The paper is based on our larger study of the experiences of women living with HIV and AIDS and their participation in clinical trials. In late 2007 and early 2008 we carried out a number of in-depth interviews with women living with HIV and AIDS in central Thailand. We find that women living with HIV and AIDS still deal with stigma and discrimination in their everyday life. However, from the women's narratives, we also find more positive attitudes from local communities. Some women deal with stigma and discrimination by joining and participating in HIV and AIDS support groups that have emerged in response to the AIDS epidemic in Thailand. We argue that women are not passive victims, but that they act in their own agencies to counteract any negativity they might encounter.

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