Religion and HIV/AIDS Stigma: Considerations for the Nursing Profession

Marcos Reyes-Estrada

Abstract


Nurses’ stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS hinders effective health care provision for this sector of the population. Scientific literature on HIV/AIDS stigma has emphasized cognitive, individual, and interpersonal factors that are relevant to the understanding of the stigmatization process among health care professionals (e.g. a health care professional’s accuracy in knowledge of the workings of the virus, effectiveness of emotion management, degree of proximity to the stigmatized group, etc.). However, researchers have also examined the socio-structural factors underlying stigma, and religion has consequently emerged as a social phenomenon that may foster it. Religion relates to health care provision in ways that have received some examination, but the role of religion among professional nurses who specifically service people living with HIV/AIDS remains understudied. Focusing on evidence-based literature, we discuss the relationship between religion and HIV/AIDS stigma, explore potential implications of this relationship for the nursing profession, and make recommendations for stigma-reducing interventions.


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References


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