People with HIV/AIDS face social ostracism and stigmatization, a sociological term used to describe inscribed difference. The way that this is experienced is both subjective and is structurally organized. Difficulties in sociological definitions of stigma, and terminology that is specific enough, is noted in the literature. (Deacon, 2006; Downes and Rock, 2007) The outcome of stigmatization impacts health care provision by the health care systems, social networks which are available to help those suffering or even those caring for people who are HIV/AIDS positive. It also impacts on internal sense of self. (Deacon, 2006) HIV/AIDS is regarded as deviant behaviour, due to cofactors associated with the disease. This paper will show that studies reveal that stigma, as defined, is an excellent but contentious framework through which to understand the experience of being ill with AIDS, and coping with the responses to the way society treats those afflicted.
[...] Labelling theory contends “Social groups create deviance by making the rules whose infractions constitutes deviance and by applying those rules to particular people and labelling them as outsiders deviance is not a quality of the act the person commits, but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an “offender.” (Downes and Rock: 160) Hence, Goffman's idea of the real person, versus the perception of the person is seen as the basis for establishing external and internal stigma. [...]
[...] (Chan and Reidpath Scrambler and Paoli Emlet, 2006) The research literature on AIDS and stigma is extensive, and covers many of these topics such as having to negotiate for rights within societies: the larger society, the family, friendship networks, health care provisions. A study of rural-urban differences in the U.S. regarding AIDS and stigma reports, ‘Because stigma arises from an affected person's experiences with unaffected community members, the extent to which an affected person perceives stigma could be influenced by prevailing community attitudes. [...]
[...] (2006) “You're Awfully Old to Have this Disease”: Experiences of Stigma and Ageism in Adults 50 Years and Older Living with HIV/AIDS” The Gerontologist, Dec., VOl no pp 781-790 Hegarty, P. and Golden, A. (2008) “Attributional Belies About the Controllability of Stigmatized Traits: Antecedents of Justifications of Prejudice” Journal of Applied Social Psychology, Vol no pp 1023- 1044 Kavouni, A. et al. (2008) Face of HIV and AIDS: can we erase the stigma” AIDS Care, Vol no pp 485-487 Owen, G. [...]
[...] Interpretation of the issue of stigma and how it can help alleviate the way people with HIV/AIDS or their caregivers are treated in any given community, can be understood through many sociological frames or lens, including functionalism, social interactionism or phenomenology, to name three. Another possible way of understanding and eradicating stigma is to do the empirical work that also is change-based in nature; not just describing but figuring out how to be a change or transformational leader while engaging in research on impacts of stigmatization in the case of AIDS in various social institutions: from religion to political systems, to the health care field, friendship networks and self perceptions. [...]
[...] The more negative community attitudes are toward people with HIV/AIDS and groups known or assumed to be at risk for HIV/AIDS, the more likely it is that people with HIV/AIDS residing in these communities will perceive that they are stigmatized.” (Yanushka, et al: 285) Is perception of being stigmatized accurate, or is the stigmatization objective, rather than perceptual? When the response to AIDS, if it is different in cities, is harsher in rural areas of the U.S, what does this tell us about the usefulness of the phenomenological perspective? [...]
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