Implementing a programme for coping with stigma for women whose partners died of AIDS: a case study

06 July 2016

The purpose of this research was to develop a programme to help women whose partners died of AIDS to cope with stigma. Having experienced severe stigmatisation these women used mostly ineffective problem-focused strategies and limited emotion-focused strategies. Due to their difficulty in coping there was a need to develop a programme to assist them to cope with the stigma of having lost a partner to AIDS, as well as being HIV positive themselves. The programme was developed, implemented and evaluated by means of a holistic multiple case design with a sample of four women. Data were collected by means of multiple sources from transcripts of the eight sessions, naïve sketches by participants, as well as field notes from observations of individuals and of the group. Data analysis was done according to the case record method. The conclusions about the impact of the programme were that it had a positive impact based on the fact that these women grew from being lonely, reserved, having negative self perceptions, to being open about their HIV status, sharing their problems related to stigma, seeking support, being altruistic by advocating for assistance of other women in the same situation, as well as suggesting the establishment of a home-based care facility where they can assist in caring for others