Impacts of Internal Stigma among the People Living with HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh: An Empirical Account

  •  Sifat Sultana    


All over the world HIV/AIDS related stigma and discrimination are of growing concern. At the same time self or internal stigma is one of the influential facts that make people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) to feel ashamed and guilty about their positive status. But the matter of stigma has been largely ignored by the existing policy of Bangladesh. This paper critically assesses how internal stigma contributes to keeping people from accessing HIV prevention, care and treatment services and adopting key preventive behaviors. This qualitative research is based on in-depth interview and case study method, located at Dhaka city, Ashar Alo Society (AAS), a service delivery center for HIV/AIDS patients. This study also revealed that internal stigma forced the PLWHAs to accept and believe that their disease is a moral punishment; they also perceived the disease as a result of their misdeeds. Many participants felt ashamed and tried to hide their status from everybody. Observation showed that HIV is regarded as an invisible contagious disease because PLWHAs hide their diseases even from their wives as a result the wives get infected with the disease in ignorance. These findings enabled us to understand the existing situation of PLWHAs and the impact of stigma and discriminatory behavior on their lifestyles in Bangladesh. The study suggested that the existing situation can be improved by formulating related strategies to reduce stigma and discrimination of PLWHAs.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.