Stigma Experiences in Marginalized People Living With HIV Seeking Health Services and Resources in Canada

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Abstract

HIV stigma may prevent people from obtaining a timely diagnosis and engaging in life-saving care. It may also prevent those who are HIV infected from seeking health and education resources, particularly if they are from marginalized communities. We inductively explored the roots of stigma and its impact on health services and resource seeking as experienced by HIV-infected members of marginalized communities in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, using a community-based participatory research framework. Five peer-facilitated focus groups were conducted with 33 Aboriginal, Latino, Asian, and African participants. Thematic analysis of the experiences revealed four dominant themes: beginnings of stigma, tensions related to disclosure, experiences of service seeking, and beyond HIV stigma and discrimination. Persons living with HIV from Aboriginal and refugee communities continue to experience disproportionate rates of stigma and discrimination. Fear remains a prime obstacle influencing these groups' abilities and willingness to access care in various settings.

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