Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 22 Issue 6 (November/December 2012), Pages 453-542

Beliefs Contributing to HIV‐related Stigma in African and Afro‐Caribbean Communities in the Netherlands (pages 470-484)


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. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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