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Homosexuality and HIV/AIDS stigma in Jamaica

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This paper reports on a study of the relationship of homophobia to HIV/AIDS-related stigma in Jamaica. Ethnography, key informant interviews and focus groups were used to gather data from a sample of 33 male and female adults during the summer of 2003. The sample included health and social service providers, HIV positive men and women, and men and women with same sex partners in urban and rural Jamaica. A strong and consistent relationship between homophobia and HIV/AIDS-related stigma was reported, but the relationship varied according to geographic location, social class, gender, and skin colour (complexion)—to the extent that this coincided with class. Stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS and homosexuality was implicated in low levels of use of HIV testing, treatment and care services and the reluctance of HIV positive people to reveal their serostatus to their sexual partners. Data reveal a pressing need for anti-stigma measures for both homophobia and HIV/AIDS, and for training for health and human service professionals.
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Keywords: HIV/AIDS; Homophobia; Jamaica; stigma

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Jamaica AIDS Support (JAS), Jamaica

Publication date: 01 July 2005

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