In the United States many women infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are poor women of African American or Hispanic American descent. Women with HIV have experienced many forms of oppression and discrimination and have been blamed as the victims of HIV and labeled as drug users, prostitutes, and carriers of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). They have been stigmatized for their gender, their sexuality, their minority status, and their poverty, as well as for their HIV-positive status. Stigma theory is used in this article to explore the sources of stigma associated with this vulnerable group of clients.
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