The Difficulties of Feeling: The Role of Emotions in the Stigmatization of HIV/AIDS

  • Melissa Marzán-Rodríguez Universidad de Puerto Rico
  • Nelson Varas-Díaz Universidad de Puerto Rico
Keywords: stigma, HIV/AIDS, emotions, health professionals

Abstract

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) have been a source of stigma for people who live with the disease. This stigmatization has been frequently studied from the perspective of stigmatizing agents focusing on opinions. This focus has systematically avoided exploring the role of emotions in the stigmatization process. We carried out this study in order to identify the role of emotions in the process of stigmatization of the people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) by health professionals. In order to achieve this objective we implemented an exploratory and qualitative design using in-depth semi-structured interviews. The sample consisted of 80 health professionals and health profession students from the following specialties: psychology, social work, medicine and nursing. The results reflected the existence of emotions associated to HIV/AIDS such as pity, compassion, disgust, and fear. Participants expressed the need to control their emotions when interacting with PLWHA. The results point to the need to explore factors that mediate emotions, such as the social context in which they are manifested and before whom they are revealed. This is a vital step in order to better understand the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs060428

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Author Biographies

Melissa Marzán-Rodríguez, Universidad de Puerto Rico
Melissa MARZÁN-RODRÍGUEZ, es estudiante de antropología y asistente de investigación en la Universidad de Puerto Rico. Su interés de investigación es la estigmatización del VIH/SIDA, el rol social de las emociones y relación medico-paciente.
Nelson Varas-Díaz, Universidad de Puerto Rico
Nelson VARAS-DÍAZ, Ph.D., es catedrático auxiliar e investigador en la Escuela Graduada de Trabajo Social Beatriz Lassalle de la Universidad de Puerto Rico. Su interés de investigación es la estigmatización del VIH/SIDA y su relación con la política pública, los medios de comunicación y la institución médica.
Published
2006-09-30
How to Cite
Marzán-Rodríguez, M., & Varas-Díaz, N. (2006). The Difficulties of Feeling: The Role of Emotions in the Stigmatization of HIV/AIDS. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 7(4). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-7.4.171