Send to

Choose Destination
Reprod Health. 2015 Jun 2;12:53. doi: 10.1186/s12978-015-0032-9.

Women living with HIV/AIDS (WLHA), battling stigma, discrimination and denial and the role of support groups as a coping strategy: a review of literature.

Author information

School of Health, Education and Community Studies, University of Northumbria, New Castle City, UK.
MIRA, YB Bhawan, Kathmandu, PO Box 921, Nepal.
Department of Community Health Sciences, Patan Academy of Health Sciences, Kathmandu, GPO Box 26500, Nepal.



Women living with HIV/AIDS, in particular, have been positioned as a latent source of infection, and have captivated culpability and blame leading to a highly stigmatised and discriminated life. Despite the situation, women and their particular concerns have largely been ignored in HIV/AIDS research literature. This review aims to examine and analyze the feelings, experiences and perceptions of Women living with HIV/AIDS (WLHA) and will also access the role of support group as a coping strategy on the basis of 7 primary researches conducted in or on different parts of the world.


A systematic literature search was carried out on major data bases ASSIA, CINAHL, Science Direct, Web of Knowledge, Wiley Inter Science, AMED, Pub Med/Bio Med Central, MEDLINE and Cochrane Library. The articles included for review purpose were gauged against the pre-defined inclusion/exclusion criteria and quality assessment checklist resulting in a final 7 papers.


The findings were compiled into five thematic areas: (1) Disclosure as a sensitive issue; (2) Stigma and Discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS and the multidimensional effects on women's health and wellbeing; (3) Internalised Stigma; (4) Women living with HIV/AIDS experiences of being rejected, shunned and treated differently by physicians, family and close friends; (5) Support Group as among the best available interventions for stigma and discrimination.


Support groups should be offered as a fundamental part of HIV/AIDS services and should be advocated as an effective and useful intervention. Further research is needed to examine the effect of support groups for women living with HIV/AIDS. A community based randomised controlled trial with support group as an intervention and a control group could provide further evidence of the value of support groups.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center