Stigma in healthcare settings is a pernicious barrier to HIV prevention and treatment in contexts with strong HIV-related structural stigma. Previous work has documented substantial stigma towards key populations and people living with HIV (PLWH) among Malaysian doctors. The perspectives of Malaysian key populations and PLWH, however, remain understudied. In 2021, 34 Malaysian participants representing key populations and PLWH engaged in a photovoice study designed to qualitatively explore their experiences with and hopes for doctor interactions. Many participants reported stigma from their doctors, perceiving that doctors view them as not normal, sinful, misguided, and incapable. Several emphasized that they wear figurative masks to conceal aspects of themselves from doctors. Yet, many also remain hopeful for constructive relationships with doctors. They want their doctors to know that they are bright, capable, kind, and valuable. Interventions are needed to address stigma among doctors working in contexts with strong structural stigma.
“I want the doctors to know that I am as bright as a candle”: Experiences with and hopes for doctor interactions among Malaysian key populations and people living with HIV
AIDS and Behavior, 27 (7), 2103-2112. doi: 10.1007/s10461-022-03942-9. PMCID: PMC9734400.