Stigmatization creates particular spatialities, marginalizes people with HIV/AIDS and further endangers those engaged in risky behaviors. While HIV/AIDS in the American South resembles in many ways the national picture, there are cultural aspects specific to the South that make dealing with the disease particularly challenging and thus perpetuate the stigmatization process. In Wilmington, North Carolina, HIV/AIDS—both the disease and its victims—are stigmatized through various sociospatial mechanisms that I explore through 63 interviews with service providers, people with HIV/AIDS and other community members. Qualitative data analysis reveals that stigma can undermine efforts to prevent the further spread of HIV. Also, stigma can heighten vulnerability to HIV infection because fear of AIDS stigma and discrimination may deter people from being tested for the disease and from seeking information and assistance.
Southeastern Geographer – University of North Carolina Press
Published: May 10, 2006
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