Shame and HIV: Strategies for addressing the negative impact shame has on public health and diagnosis and treatment of HIV

Bioethics 32 (1):68-76 (2018)

Phil Hutchinson
Manchester Metropolitan University
There are five ways in which shame might negatively impact upon our attempts to combat and treat HIV. Shame can prevent an individual from disclosing all the relevant facts about their sexual history to the clinician. Shame can be a motivational factor in people living with HIV not engaging with or being retained in care. Shame can prevent individuals from presenting at clinics for STI and HIV testing. Shame can prevent an individual from disclosing their HIV status to new sexual partners. Shame can serve to psychologically imprison people, it makes the task of living with HIV a far more negative experience than it should, or needs to, be. Drawing on recent philosophical work on shame, and more broadly on work in the philosophy and psychology of emotion, we propose a framework for understanding how shame operates upon those who experience the emotion, propose a strategy for combatting the negative role shame plays in the fight against HIV, and suggest further study so as to identify the tactics that might be employed in pursuing the strategy here proposed.
Keywords AIDS  HIV  philosophy of emotion  public health  sexual health  shame  stigma
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DOI 10.1111/bioe.12378
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Shame and Necessity.Bernard Williams - 1992 - University of California Press.
Pride, Shame and Guilt.Gabriele Taylor - 1989 - Noûs 23 (2):253-254.
Shame and Necessity.Nicholas White & Bernard Williams - 1994 - Journal of Philosophy 91 (11):619.

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