Beliefs Contributing to HIV-related Stigma in African and Afro-Caribbean Communities in the Netherlands

S.E. Stutterheim, A.E.R. Bos, N.M.C. van Kesteren, I. Shiripinda, J.B. Pryor, M. de Bruin, H.P. Schaalma

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Thirty years after the first diagnosis, people living with HIV (PLWH) around the world continue to report stigmatizing experiences. In this study, beliefs contributing to HIV-related stigma in African and Afro-Caribbean diaspora communities and their cultural context were explored through semi-structured interviews with HIV-positive (N¿=¿42) and HIV-negative (N¿=¿52) African, Antillean and Surinamese diaspora community members in the Netherlands. Beliefs that HIV is highly contagious, that HIV is a very severe disease, and that PLWH are personally responsible for acquiring their HIV infection were found to contribute to HIV-related stigma, as did the belief that PLWH are HIV-positive because they engaged in norm-violating behaviour such as promiscuity, commercial sex work, and, for Afro-Caribbean diaspora, also homosexuality. These beliefs were found to be exacerbated and perpetuated by cultural taboos on talking about HIV and sexuality. HIV-related stigma reduction interventions should focus on changing these beliefs and breaking cultural taboos on HIV and sexuality in a manner that is participatory and consistent with the current theory and empirical findings
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-484
JournalJournal of Community & Applied Social Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • aids-related stigma
  • hiv/aids-related stigma
  • south-africa
  • intergroup contact
  • discrimination
  • attitudes
  • people
  • care
  • experiences
  • disclosure


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