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Illuminating the Experience of Stigma among Persons Living with HIV using Participative Drawing Method

*Janet Alexis De los Santos orcid  -  College of Nursing, Visayas State University, Philippines
Open Access Copyright (c) 2022 Nurse Media Journal of Nursing
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Background: Arts-based techniques such as drawing is a helpful means in research because of its potential to capture taboo, culturally sensitive issues, and other critical health experiences. However, very few studies integrate the use of drawing as a qualitative method in HIV research.

Purpose: This study aims to explore the experience of stigma among persons living with HIV using the drawing method.

Methods: The study utilized a participative qualitative approach. There were eleven (11) participants who were recruited through snowballing and were asked to draw their experience of stigma as a Person Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA). The participants were men who-have-sex with men (MSM) who have been diagnosed for at least one year, and are active members of a support group. This preliminary study was conducted in Central Philippines from November-December 2019. The narrative explanations were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using thematic analysis.

Findings: Results revealed three themes: (1) Psycho-socio-emotional needs which illuminated their need for love and acceptance; (2) Profound feelings which reflected a plethora of negative towards positive convergence of emotions, and (3) Coping with HIV stigma which presented the three-pronged anchor to move forward and sustain a hopeful living.

Conclusion: A stigmatized PLHIV needs intimacy, interconnectedness, and inclusiveness in society. Likewise, they feel a plethora of feelings that transcend negative to positive emotions depending on their coping. A PLHIV copes with stigma and discrimination through the aid of their social circle, spirituality, and self-love. Future researchers may consider the use of participative drawing to explore HIV stigma apart from the conventional interview, as it is found to be a valuable method of facilitating the expression of emotions and experiences.
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Keywords: Drawing, HIV stigma, PLHIV, Philippines, qualitative method

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