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The social experience of living with HIV as a gay man in Sweden

Written by K. Fagerström

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Master Thesis






Thesis: Sociological perspectives and understanding of HIV-positive life The sociological discipline has shaped a basic tool that can generate knowledge to gain a deeper understanding of people living with HIV. In particular, it aims to explain and understand group joint behavior in the social context, as well as the importance of behavior and the multiple causality of phenomena. Most importantly, sociology provides for the study of multiple aspects of HIV behavior and HIV-infected behavior (Reinado and Hernández, 2015). Even though the actual number of confirmed diagnoses in Sweden is relatively small, there are still people infected each year (approximately 455 cases) (Folkhälsomyndigheten 2017). Some people are in the labor market when they are diagnosed, and sometimes it is known in their workplace, which sometimes causes a big uproar. This is because this problem is full of anxiety, not only the person being diagnosed, but also the people around, colleagues, friends and family, etc., which should have an impact on the willingness to disclose (Ostrom R, et al. 2006). Therefore, there is It is necessary to raise this topic from the perspective of sociology, and to educate and inform from the perspective of the affected people. It is also important to be cautious and cautious about this in order to reduce the possible negative effects of social exclusion, disclosure, and stigma for all affected people (SAN, 1996). Stigma can be described as "the individual is deprived of full social acceptance" (Goffman 1963: xxi). The concept of stigma raises important issues and faces challenges such as discrimination and isolation, so it is highly relevant even in modern times, revealing the inability to adapt to social expectations and is called "ordinary." Based on the preconceived notions of HIV-positive persons, stigma may affect the disclosure decision (Guy A, et al. 2018). Investigators pointed out that the disclosure decision-making process highly determines the individual’s weighing of the pros and cons related to disclosure (Ostrom R, et al. al. 2006; Armistead L. et al. 2001; Black & Miles, 2002; Serovich J, 2001). The sources of stigma usually include fear of disease, fear of spread, and fear of death. Regarding HIV/AIDS, the fear of illness, infection, and death is a repeated response of health workers and colleagues, as well as the general population (Brown et al., 2003). In society, there is a tendency to classify people and their attributes, which has become a natural attribute of each of these categories and its own. The term "category" is absolutely abstract and can be raised to anyone with a certain stigma, and the social background determines the category of people you may encounter there. Filling the gaps in HIV research Research on the impact of stigma on HIV-positive individuals is limited, especially when it comes to their social experiences and disclosure decisions (Ostrom R, et al. 2006). Research conducted in the context of Swedish society is particularly limited. However, the minority presence in countries other than Sweden is indeed restricted when it comes to stigma. Therefore, further investigation is very important, and a broader understanding of this phenomenon is needed. Because knowledge not only creates a sense of consciousness, but also normalizes factors that can lead to HIV-related stigma and HIV positivity. Phenomenological sociology and stigma theory focus on how meaning is created in individual consciousness. This can be described in terms of how experience influences and forms part of the interrelationships between individuals in daily life and how these meanings unfold to the observer. In sensitive research areas, as well as topics such as HIV stigma theory, it can be used to study social phenomena related to the virus. Therefore, the social representation of HIV is highly related to the understanding of the public's true perception and significance of the virus (Reinado and Hernández, 2015). Alternative methods of international research (Maria J et al., 2014) show that individuals who are stigmatized are not passive recipients of negative attitudes and discrimination. Instead, they interpret, respond to, and respond to stigma in a variety of ways. One way is for the stigmatized person to reduce stigma through group identification. Another theoretical approach is that gay men in different birth cohorts may have significant differences in health and identity development (Hammack P, et al. 2018). Research conducted in Sweden focused on the distribution and transmission of HIV (Neogi, U, et al. 2017) and the motivations and barriers to HIV testing (Persson, K, et al. 2016). Subjective and objective understanding When dealing with topics such as HIV, it is necessary to come up with some key concepts. The concept of the world of life originated from Husserl's interpretation and was further developed by Schutz (1993) and phenomenological sociology. It is the basis for understanding common sense, social action, and the reality of the interactive world. This concept emphasizes a state of things in which the world can be seen and the world lives in it. The social world between subjects is the world in which individuals live in their daily lives through the attitudes attributed to nature. The life world is easier to understand because it is considered an inter-subject and public world of the self, something that everyone can share and obtain. One of its most notable features is that it is a personal pre-existing world. Read Less