Ciência & Saúde Coletiva
On-line version ISSN 1678-4561
ALMEIDA, Maria Rita de Cassia Barreto de and LABRONICI, Liliana Maria. The silent itinerary of people with HIV told through oral history. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2007, vol.12, n.1, pp. 263-274. ISSN 1678-4561. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232007000100030.
The emergence of AIDS as a social and historical phenomenon has brought along with it specters held in social imagination, aggravating the concept of plague, generating strong feelings and prejudice, becoming a stigma. Such factors ultimately affect HIV bearers' well being. Thus, this study aims to understand the dimension of the problem of HIV bearers who have not seeked treatment in the National Health System and the reasons which make this search so difficult. The adopted methodological approach was thematic oral accounts. Five HIV bearers collaborated in this study. By using content analysis, we observed that the study participants do not go to Health Units near their homes fearing to be identified, especially since they know they will certainly meet people from their neighborhood at the health units who do not know about their HIV diagnosis. Because of this fear, they anticipate they will suffer discrimination and stigmatization - due to the disease's social significance - and so, to protect themselves, they choose a secrecy that keeps them from trusting anyone and from seeking health care, thus increasing their personal suffering and vulnerability to develop AIDS.
Keywords : Stigma; Health system; Nursing.