This thesis is based on fifteen months of anthropological research in the voluntary counselling and testing centres and antiretroviral therapy clinics of two hospitals in Ghana, St. Patrick's Hospital at Maase-Offinso and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, including in-depth conversations with people living with HIV/AIDS, nurses and doctors. It shows that the persistent stigma around HIV/AIDS has a profound negative impact on people with HIV/AIDS and on their use of counselling, testing and treatment services. Many prefer absolute secrecy or even death to the shame and social exclusion that may follow if their condition is revealed. However, the study also demonstrates that the provision of high quality services can lead to an increased uptake of services. The thesis describes the complexities involved in the care and treatment of HIV/AIDS. The author advocates that treating clients well during interactions in the centres and clinics is crucial for the increasing use of these services by both clients and other people. It can be the first step to reducing the perceived stigma associated with the use of services in the hospital setting.

Year of publication: 2012
Series: African Studies Collection
Volume: 38
Jonathan Mensah Dapaah
African Studies Centre
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