+Hiv/Aids, Stigma And Coping Strategies: A Qualitative Study Regarding Contemporary Greece

Research Article
George Alexias, Manos Savvakis and Ιfigenia Stratopoulou
HIV/AIDS, stigma, coping strategies, qualitative research, biographical disruption.

The present study aims at examining some of the stigmatizing aspects of HIV/AIDS in contemporary Greece. Based on qualitative methodology the article casts light upon the social dynamics that significantly influence the lived experiences of the individuals infected by HIV/AIDS, as well as their partners, family, friends and social relations. Stigma, albeit a social construction, is perceived as a changing and emerging feature over the course of HIV/AIDS. The primary purpose is to conceptualize how individuals with this particular illness experience social stigmatization. Besides, it demonstrates the multiple ways they copy with the disease and its consequences over their identities, bodies and biographies. Three phases of the HIV/AIDS stigma trajectory are described: (1) ambivalent compliance: a contradictory and struggling acceptance of the HIV-related stigma, (2) negative normalization: bodily strategies of coping, and (3) reflexive management: relativization to social stigmatization. The social procedures through which participants personalize HIV/AIDS and the strategies they employ to avoid or relativize the AIDS-related stigma, to re-negotiate interpersonal relations, to re-construct biographies and to re-conceptualize and adapt to an HIV identity are deemed through the stigma trajectory.