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 January 20, 2012


In The Name of ALLAH The Almighty

The Effects of Stigma related to HIV-AIDS diagnosed womenís in Society.

The Aids pandemic seriously threatens womenís in developing countries. The direct and indirect negative consequences of AIDS in developing countries are far out weighted than any other social issue. There are many economic, social, political and cultural aspects that affect discrimination against women in society. Women in developing countries suffer more inequality and lack opportunities to treat diagnosis like AIDS.

Sexual contact is the most significant route of transmission for women in developing countries although the importance of other route differs by county. In sub Saharan Africa, heterosexual transmission predominates for both men and women. In Latin America, sexual transmission is both homosexual and heterosexual with transmission from bisexual males as important source of HIV infection for women. In Latin America injecting drug use (IDU) is also an important route of transmission. (Lima, Bastos, & Friedman, 2003).Blood contact from transfusions or other procedures has also been significant source of infection for women especially in more prosperous countries like Brazil etc. where transfusion are available.

The main route of infection is through heterosexual transmission. Women at very young ages become infected with these kinds of practices. The long term social and economic consequences of Aids lead to greater mortality and morbidity rates. This result especially on womenís who are child bearing. Their child lives are at risk of getting miserable. The young age of women diagnosed with AIDS will ultimately result in future contribution of social burden on society, effects on other family members, youngster with growing age etc. HIV positive women face the physical and emotional burden of bearing potentially infected infants or controlling their fertility. This is especially difficult because in most developing countries, womenís status and future financial stability depend on their ability to produce healthy sons.
The illness, poverty, oppression, invisibility, and lack of community support are often experienced by HIV positive women. While effects of AIDS are not distinctive only to women in developing countries, their generally lower status and their greater poverty make these effects far more overwhelming. Womenís lower earning capacities and economic dependency on men double the chances of losing their partners, sons and other family members. In the allocation of human and material resources for the fight against AIDS, women in developing countries are often at the end of the line.

Women with the diagnosis of AIDS have been confronted with a variety of problems involving sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), employment, insurance, social isolation etc. Sexually transmitted diseases that cause genital lesions have been associated with HIV infection and may increase the risk of sexually transmission of AIDS. Their public identification can be treated as a member of highly stigmatized group. Social stigmatization is attached to them. Women who have considered their sexuality or drug use to be private matters are now subject to exposure and possible rejection by family and friends. They may be abandoned by friends who accept their sexual preference or drug use but are afraid of the disease. At this time when people need social support, comfort, compassion and closeness, they might be left alone and isolated. Some individuals have been fired from their jobs because employers and coworkers feared that they would come in contact with AIDS. In many instances health insurance is lost when job is lost. They donít get medical insurance due to greater financial burden involve in this disease.

Families may reject the infected womenís life style and might be reluctant to provide emotional and psychological support. In a recent study of families having adult members infected with HIV, subjects were asked to identify their major concerns. The major concerns reported were the uncertainty regarding the future, a desire to maintain physical or psychological health, social unacceptability, fatigue, and weight loss (Longo, Spross, & Locke, 2001). The concern was similar among participants in a pilot study of seven families with a child who was perinatally infected with HIV. Specifically the major concerns identified through a semi structured interview with either one or both parents encompassed the functioning of the entire immediate family. Parents emphasized social unacceptability, the uncertainty of the childís future, the childís symptoms and pain, the motherís fatigue and physical condition, sibling response to the diagnosis, and usual care for the affected child as major concerns. In this case scenario, woman was labeled more as child got HIV perinatally. Family tries to withhold the diagnosis from family and friends. Many families do not involve their infected family member in their gatherings and isolate them to distant places. This is basically due to societal stigmatization and life style changes in modern times .Such a situation leaves womenís at a crucial time without a family to assist with basic physical needs and to provide emotional support and forces a greater dependence on spouse or friends. The familyís religion and feelings concerning spirituality greatly affect coping and prognosis. Members of religions communities also express their feelings regarding this disease in their words and actions. These do not always reflects sensitivity and concerns and may actually convey judgment, blame and further stigmatize women and family.

A multi-disciplinary approach appears to be more effective in treating HIV infected women. The physician directs the medical treatment for the infected women. The nurse coordinates the medical and nursing care plan. The nurse also provides health related educational service about general information of HIV, it mode of transmission and methods that can be used to prevent transmission. The nurse may also be the source of emotional support for the women and family. The social workers provide financial and social service, information and support.

The best response of health care provider towards isolation of HIV infected womenís, is to engage them actively in the society wide debates. Nurses should initiate psychosocial interventions with newly-diagnosed HIV-infected persons before symptoms of AIDS become apparent. The nature of these interventions will depend upon such factors as the age and developmental level of the client, the nature of the presenting problems, the therapeutic context, the types and availability the resources , the responsiveness of the client to intervention, and the knowledge, attitudes, and skills of the nurse. These interventions include individual, group, and family therapeutic approaches to assist clients and their significant others to deal with such common problems as loss and grief, guilt, prejudice and discrimination, isolation, uncertainty, and fear of rejection. Nurses should also assess the level of stress, quality of social support, and mood, factors that influence the quality of life of persons with HIV disease. Nurses also play key roles in providing education to HIV infected women of those at risk of such infection. Such counseling can take place in both individual and group contexts and should be culturally sensitive.

In the nut shell, the battle towards HIV-AIDS through medical and scientific achievements can be struggled in a profound manner. In order to improve quality of life for infected women and their children, screening of HIV virus, proper immunization, health education regarding risks, mode of transmission and hazardous effects of AIDS, etc. must be focused. Concerns about risk and safety of both health care providers and affected person, will drive future challenges of this diagnosis and can balance rights of HIV infected womenís in society.

Saima Rajpali
Mohammad Yaqoob



mail @ chitraltimes@gmail.com

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