The role of the family in attributing meaning to living with HIV and its stigma in Turkey

Pinar Oktem

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Stigma attached to HIV/AIDS remains a global problem, with severe negative consequences for people living with HIV (PLHIV). Family support is fundamental for PLHIV’s psychological and physical well-being. HIV-related stigma is high in Turkey, where HIV/AIDS prevalence is low and the epidemic is not considered a priority. Based on qualitative data generated with HIV-positive women and men, this article explores the process of stigmatization, as experienced and perceived by PLHIV in Turkey, focusing on the institution of the family. Results indicated that enacted stigma from family members is lower than anticipated. While most participants’ narratives showed patterns of support rather than rejection from families, the strong expectations around the cultural value attributed to “the family” are found to be the main facilitators of internalized stigma. The article critically discusses the meaning and implications of family support, addressing the role of patriarchal values attributed to womanhood, manhood, and sexuality in Turkey.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2158244015615165
JournalSAGE Open
Issue number4
Early online date7 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015

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