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Soc Sci Med. 1996 Nov;43(9):1371-7.

Dirty, diseased and undeserving: the positioning of HIV positive women.

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National Centre in HIV Social Research, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia.


The discursive construction of HIV/AIDS associates deviance and disease. Women living with HIV/AIDS, in particular, have been positioned as a source or potential source of infection, and have attracted guilt and blame: in becoming 'disease' they have failed in their appropriate roles as carers and nurturers, responsible for the next generation. Based on in-depth interviews with 27 women living with HIV/AIDS this paper focuses on three ways of positioning HIV positive women: through discrimination on the part of medical professionals; through internalisation of stigmatisation; and through multiple stigmatisation of women who are or have been illicit drug users or sex workers. The implications of stigmatisation are discussed in relation to accessing health care and support.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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