HIV-related stigma has been identified as a significant stressor affecting Quality of Life of Youth Living With HIV/AIDS (YLWHA). Gaining a contextualized understanding of how this stigma is experienced by YLWHA in Western Uganda is crucial in addressing it in this group and setting. In this study, we explored the lived experiences of YLWHA with HIV-related stigma. Photovoice was used to gain insight into the lived experiences of HIV-related stigma in 11 YLWHA (15-19 years), purposively selected from a hospital-based peer support group. Group interview transcripts, notes and photographs were subjected to phenomenological hermeneutic analysis. Encounters with enacted, anticipated and internalized stigmas and their myriad sequels were prevalent in the photos and narratives of participants. Our findings were categorized and presented in 5 main themes that were identified through the analysis: being devalued, experiencing fear, experiencing injustices, feeling lonely, and lacking future perspectives. HIV-related stigmas were experienced in various socio-ecological domains but predominantly in homes and schools that ought to be supportive surroundings for youths. A multilevel approach, targeting the entire society where the root causes of stigma can be found and specific contexts like schools and homes where youth are confronted with stigma on a daily basis is proposed for a wholistic intervention.
- HIV-related Stigma
- Western Uganda