Stigma and stereotypes: Women and sexually transmitted infections

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Collegian, 2012, 19 (1), pp. 15 - 21
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Sexually transmitted infections have long been associated with stigma and stereotypes due to their very nature. Throughout history sexually transmitted infections have been associated with female prostitution and deviant immoral behaviour making women who contract these infections particularly vulnerable to being stigmatised and stereotyped. Although the stigma attached to such infections has previously been documented in the literature, the aim of this research was to gain in depth insight into young Australian women's experiences of having a sexually transmitted infection from a feminist perspective. Findings from this study provide insight into the onerous effects stigma can have on women with these infections and sheds light on how these effects can influence self-perceptions, fear of rejection and feelings of unworthiness. These findings can provide nurses with greater understanding and insight into the effects of stigma on women's experiences of having a sexually transmitted infection. Having this understanding and insight has the potential to promote therapeutic care and minimise the stigma that may be felt among women who have contracted this type of infection. © 2011 Royal College of Nursing, Australia.
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