AIDS and the stigma of sexual promiscuity: Thai nurses' risk perceptions of occupational exposure to HIV
Chan, Kit Yee
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Chan, K.Y., Rungpueng, A. and Reidpath, D.D. (2009) ‘AIDS and the stigma of sexual promiscuity: Thai nurses’ risk perceptions of occupational exposure to HIV’, Culture, Health & Sexuality, 11(4), pp. 353–368. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/13691050802621161.
This paper examines the culturally shaped meanings of AIDS and perceptions of accidental occupational exposure to HIV among a group of twenty nurses in Bangkok, Thailand. The findings are based on data collected as a part of a larger mixed‐methods study that examined how perceptions of risk behaviours (including sexual promiscuity) shape health workers' perceptions of patients living with HIV/AIDS. Nurses' narratives revealed that despite acknowledgement of the low probability of occupational exposure to HIV, the fear of HIV infection remained and was largely driven by the enormity of the anticipated social (rather than the health) consequences of being HIV‐positive. The perceived certainty of social ostracism was reinforced by participants' observations of the social rejection experienced by people living with HIV/AIDS both within and outside clinical settings. For female nurses, the dominant social perception that women living with HIV/AIDS were violators of gender norms, and thus ‘guilty’ victims, was an issue central to their self‐identities. Ways of improving care for people living with HIV in the light of the nurses concerns and future research are discussed.