Influence of Perceived Secondary Stigma and Family on the Response to HIV Infection Among Injection Drug Users in Vietnam

Megan L Salter, Vivian F Go, Nguyen Le Minh, Amy Gregowski, Tran Viet Ha, Abby Rudolph, Carl Latkin, David D Celentano, Vu Minh Quan
AIDS Education and Prevention: Official Publication of the International Society for AIDS Education 2010, 22 (6): 558-70
The full impact of secondary stigma (stigma directed at family) on an HIV-positive individual is unknown. This qualitative research explores perceptions of secondary stigma in the Vietnamese context and its influence on the ways in which an injection drug user (IDU) copes with HIV infection. Data on experiences learning one's HIV status, disclosure decisions, family reactions, and stigma from family and community were collected through in-depth interviews with 25 HIV-positive IDUs recruited through a health center in Thai Nguyen, Vietnam. Participants felt despair when learning they were HIV-positive and expressed concerns focused on the emotional burden and the consequences of HIV stigma that extended to family. Many participants engaged in self-isolating behaviors to prevent transmission and minimize secondary stigma. Data illustrated the strong value given to family in Vietnam and underscored the importance of secondary stigma in the coping process including gaining social support and engaging in risk reduction.

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