| || || HIV infections -- Fiji -- Psychological aspects|
| || || Combining intergroup perspectives and experiences of HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination in Fiji : a mixed methods study|
Author: Buksh, Shazna M.
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Subject: HIV infections -- Fiji -- Psychological aspects, HIV infections -- Social aspects -- Fiji
Call No.: Pac RA 643 .86 .F5 B85 2014
Copyright:Under 10% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission
Abstract: Addressing HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination is a mainstream approach adopted by the Government of Fiji in HIV prevention, treatment, and care. The current exponential growth in HIV cases in Fiji warrants an examination of this approach. This study adopts an ecosocial research orientation within a sequential mixed methods research design to present ingroup experiences and outgroup perceptions of HIV and people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). The primary goal for this study was to identify the social forces and inequalities that cause HIV/AIDSrelated stigma in Fiji and its impact on the psychosocial reactions of PLWHA and the attitudes of post-secondary students. Two separate studies were conducted in stages. In Stage 1 - Qualitative Exploration of Dominant Experiences of PLWHA, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 HIV positive (six females and five males), heterosexual participants. Use of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis permitted detailed exploration of the participants’ personal experiences and perceptions as well as adopting a questioning hermeneutics stance. The qualitative data then informed the research questions and measures for Stage 2 - Survey of Attitudes of Post-Secondary Students (N = 300). Results from both stages indicated that the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in Fiji is affected by social forces and inequalities such as gender-based inequality and violence; ethnic variations in psychosocial reaction to stigma; fear of contagion and disease, and sexual stigma associated with the pandemic. These societal mechanisms impact the (1) perception of HIV/AIDS, modes of transmission of HIV/AIDS, and of PLWHA, (2) focus of social policies, and (3) determine the success of stigma interventions. Results also indicated that stigmatising attitudes are complex interrelated constructs and interventions need to concurrently address stigma driven by fear of contagion and disease, and stigma driven by conceptions of immorality, shame, and blame. Finally, while data from the two stages indicated greater prevalence of supportive behaviour and attitudes towards PLWHA, Stage 2 survey data indicated that HIV/AIDS-related stigma has an impact on willingness to provide support for HIV positive close family members amongst post-secondary students. Future research would benefit from continuing to investigate the impact of v stigma on perceptions of HIV/AIDS and PLWHA with other samples from the general public.