This research is an exploratory study, examining how people feel about HIV/AIDS and their reaction towards a person who tested HIV positive. The purpose of the study was to explore factors contributing to the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS in Mamelodi and Atteridgeville. Thirty fieldworkers interviewed a convenient sample of 1077 respondents from different ethnic groups, gender, educational level, marital status and age groups and found that respondents tend to stigmatising persons with HIV/AIDS. This research uses both quantitative and qualitative methods as a research approach. The two methodologies were used with the intention of making some contribution to the methodology of social psychological HIV/AIDS studies. The questionnaire was employed as a quantitative instrument with a view to identify the respondents’ views. The questionnaire consists of five (5) sections: Personal information, health related questions, an HIV knowledge scale consisting of 16 questions and two HIV stigma scales used to assess personal and perceived community stigma. The level of personal stigma attached to HIV/AIDS was found to be lower than the level of stigma perceived in the community. This indicates that people perceive a collective stigma in the community that is negative, blaming, judging and restrictive towards interaction with people with HIV/AIDS. The perception of highly stigmatising attitudes in the community was shared by all sub-groups in the study. Only 22% of people surveyed would be scared or felt uncomfortable sending their child to school with children living with AIDS. Almost 42% of respondents believe that people who were exposed to AIDS through sex got what they deserved. In general, research shows that knowledge of HIV is quite high (95%).
Dissertation (MA (Research Psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2008.