"There's no stigma here": the complexity of stigma among healthcare providers in Wamena, Papua.




Gregson, Kathleen

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This thesis is an ethnographic study of AIDS-related stigma in the work and discourse of healthcare providers in Wamena. Wamena is located in the highlands of Papua, the eastern-most province of Indonesia. HIV/AIDS rates in Papua are dramatically rising and stigma continues to hinder HIV/AIDS programs and initiatives. This thesis looks at assumptions about stigma and shows intersections of stigma with Christianity and racism to be integral aspects of AIDS-related stigma in Wamena. The connection between stigma and HIV/AIDS as a disease is not as strong as intervention programs appear to assume. In 2010, I conducted ethnographic research among health care providers in Wamena. I employed semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and casual interviews to collect materials and assess current practices that contribute to stigma in the healthcare setting. The results of this research challenges current HIV/AIDS-focused approaches to stigma by showing stigma is expressed in subtle ways even among well-trained healthcare providers, that stigma is expressed through Christian values and through assessments of racism, and that some aspects of stigma can also work to protect patients from other forms of discrimination.



HIV/AIDS, Papua, Indonesia, Healthcare Providers, Stigma, Racism, Religion