From Stigmatization to Independence: Empowering People with HIV/AIDS in Uganda
Abstract: People living with HIV/AIDS suffer not only from their medical condition, but also from stigmatizing attitudes in society. Fear of stigma is a main barrier for testing and disclosure in Uganda. The effects of hiding ones status are that infected people are not reached by information and counseling that is essential not only for their psychological well being, but also to prevent further spread of HIV. Neither do they access treatment, crucial for their survival which causes both personal and societal strain such as orphaned children and increased poverty. Uganda Red Cross Society have succeeded in empowering people living with HIV/AIDS, leading to decreased self-stigma and increased independence. However, there are vast gender differences where men are less reached by the support than women. This is a qualitative case study. One geographical area is selected namely Kampala East, the slums of Naguru and Bukoto. The study explores the effects of Uganda Red Cross Society’s work on empowering people living with HIV/AIDS, how it is perceived by their clients and its actual effects. The methods have been observations of activities arranged by the Red Cross, in-depth life world interviews with their clients and semi-structured, fact-oriented interviews with professionals working for Uganda Red Cross Society. The interviews have been analyzed via meaning condensation. Theories of stigma and empowerment have been utilized.
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