The micro and the macro: How discourse of control maintains HIV-related stigma

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Ranjbar, Vania ; McKinlay, Andy ; McVittie, Chris

In this article, we examine how HIV/AIDS caregivers negotiate stigma in their discourse of providing care to HIV-positive individuals. Using interview data, we demonstrate how participants employed discourse of control in attempting to avoid and counter HIV-related stigma: participants rejected fear of associating with HIV-positive individuals by drawing on their knowledge of HIV transmission and their ability to control and avoid infection. Such discourses backfire, however, as the concept of HIV infection being controllable and thus avoidable maintains accountability for the disease. Thus, participants’ micro discourse of control can maintain the macro discourse that produces HIV-related stigma.
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