This study analyzes how experiences of HIV-related stigma are expressed among HIV-positive young people transitioning to an adult clinic, the health service, the family, the affective-sexual interactions, and their relationship with inequalities and social hierarchies. This research included 31 young people (median age 21) transitioning to an adult clinic (G1) and 12 young people (median age 30) who had already made this transition (G2), both monitored at a health service in Rio de Janeiro. Seventy percent of the 43 young people were women and 65% were infected by mother-to-child transmission. Young people answered questionnaires and participated in focus groups on AIDS stigma and transition to adulthood. Most reported discrimination associated with HIV stigma in daily life and health care. G1 young people showed more significant concern about the consequences of HIV disclosure and difficulties with treatment. The G2 accounts suggest that establishing marital relationships, including HIV-negative partners and children, linked to treatment access allowed resignifying the fear of stigmatization. The findings aim to guide the training and action of professionals involved in the prevention and care of young people living with HIV.
Stigma; AIDS; Young People Living with HIV; Transition to Adult Care