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The experience of overcoming the stigma associated to HIV/AIDS: a call for collaboration with community Psychology. Carlos Roberto de Castro-Silva

The experience of overcoming the stigma associated to HIV/AIDS: a call for collaboration with community Psychology.

Carlos Roberto de Castro-Silva

Abstract
After more than 20 years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, it is noticed an intense connection with different forms of discrimination. The evolution of the epidemic has revealed that it stressed other forms of prejudice related to sexual orientation, to gender, race and social class. In Brazil, where the social inequality is very severe, the social exclusion is even a more important feature, once it exposes a bigger number of people to the infection by the virus and other sexual transmitted diseases. This situation generates an intense suffering, inhibiting emancipatory actions to face the stigma for a better quality of life of people who live with HIV/AIDS. By the practice of the Community Psychology at Cruzeiro do Sul University, in a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), with poor communities in the periphery of São Paulo, it was intended to strengthen the psychological aspects of these people as an instrument for constructing more active citizens in the communities. The procedures were: 1 – Community and Institutional Diagnosis, by means of interviews and participative observation; 2- Group work, focusing on the exchange of experience between soropositive and soronegative women; 3- Elaboration and discussion of the group meetings, registered in weekly reports over a 10-month-period. The results have demonstrated that the suffering, resulting from a little tolerant society and culture, can be transformed by group practices focused on the strengthening of intersubjective exchanges which 1 – discuss the living experience of stigmatization and discrimination as a result of the articulation of subjective experiences with cultural background and social, political and economical aspects; 2- promote healthy mental aspects (affective and cognitive) related to the ability of noticing, in spite of the difficulties, the public space of an NGO as place for overcoming the stigma; 3- stimulate the strengthening of friendship between the participants and the social nets for support.

Key words: Community Social Psychology, HIV/AIDS, Non-Governamental Organizations (NGO), Stigma, Social Exclusion, Strengthening Communities.


Author

Carlos Roberto de Castro-Silva

Carlos Roberto de Castro-Silva


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Keywords: Community Social Psychology, HIV/AIDS, Non-Governamental Organizations (NGO), Stigma, Social Exclusion, Strengthening Communities, gjcpp, 2nd ICCP