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West J Nurs Res. 2006 Jun;28(4):369-82; discussion 383-91.

Stigma associated with Ghanaian caregivers of AIDS patients.

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University of Ghana, Legon.


This study explores the experiences of informal caregivers of AIDS patients in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. Fifteen interviews were completed in 2002 with 11 informal caregivers, including wives, mothers, boyfriends, daughters, sons and brothers of AIDS patients. Three major themes emerge in the analysis of the interviews with caregivers: stigma, caregiver burden, and caregiver commitment. In this article, the authors focus on the theme of stigma by documenting its presence and highlighting its impact on caregiving activities. Caregivers go to great effort to not only "hide" their patients but also their care giving activities, resulting in the social isolation of both patients and their caregivers. Many caregivers live in secrecy, not sharing their family member's diagnosis with extended family members. As a result, they receive limited support from the extended family. Stigma results in negative attitudes of neighbors, relatives, and health care workers toward caregivers and their patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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