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Towards a new understanding of HIV-related stigma in the era of efficient treatment- A qualitative reconceptualization of existing theory

Reinius, M., Andersson, G. Z., Svedhem, V. , Wettergren, L., Wiklander, M. & Eriksson, L. E. ORCID: 0000-0001-5121-5325 (2021). Towards a new understanding of HIV-related stigma in the era of efficient treatment- A qualitative reconceptualization of existing theory. Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 77(5), pp. 2472-2480. doi: 10.1111/jan.14774


To further develop Earnshaw and Chaudoir's HIV stigma framework by describing the experiences of HIV‐related stigma among people living with viral suppression in a context where HIV is well controlled and to investigate how these experiences correspond to the stigma mechanisms of the framework.

Qualitative study using interviews and a framework approach to analysis.

People living with virally suppressed HIV in Sweden were recruited through an outpatient clinic and interviewed about their experiences of social aspects of living with HIV. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and analysed using a framework approach.

Fifteen participants (eight women and seven men, aged 30–64 years) were interviewed from March to September 2017. They described stigma around HIV as a barrier in many situations. Anticipated and enacted stigma were found to be more complex than is described in the existing literature. Being labelled as a person with HIV was found to be an important and persistent part of the stigma experience. Disclosure was found to be context‐related and a result of a process of negotiating and weighing the relevance of disclosing HIV, perceiving HIV as a private matter and feeling a responsibility to disclose one's HIV status to others. An important reason for nondisclosure was to avoid being labelled with HIV, which would then become their most defining feature.

The HIV stigma framework could benefit from revision for people living with virally suppressed HIV.

The present findings, which indicate the role of health professionals in relation to disclosure and labelling, may guide nurses and other healthcare personnel in providing counselling and support for people who live with virally suppressed HIV and experience stigma.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors. Journal of Advanced Nursing published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Publisher Keywords: framework approach, HIV, HIV-related stigma, normalization, nursing, qualitative interviews, stigma
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR355 Virology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
SWORD Depositor:
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