An exploration of stigmatisation relating to the terms used to refer to HIV and AIDS amongst women in a rural area in the Eastern Cape.
This thesis explores the terms used by women in a rural area of the Eastern Cape Province to reference HIV/AIDS. Exploring whether these terms are stigmatising and investigating and describing how they are stigmatising is at the heart of this study. Stigma is a barrier to HIV/AIDS related public health interventions. In order to understand HIV/AIDS stigma, this study considers the complex social and psychological processes that underpin the construction of HIV/AIDS stigma through an examination of the terms used to refer to HIV/AIDS. This project employs a qualitative research design and draws on an existing NRF Thuthuka project on sexual health, sexual risk behaviours and HIV. A purposive sampling technique was used to sample a total of 36 transcripts collected from interviews and focus groups. Thematic analysis was used to code and analyse the data. The findings of this study suggest that HIV/AIDS related fear propels an ‘othering’ response, a necessary psychological coping mechanism in the face of the overwhelming threat HIV/AIDS represents. This is fundamental to the generation and perpetuation of stigma. Cognisance of these processes is essential in rendering HIV/AIDS interventions increasingly effective.