The actual number of HIV/AIDS cases in Turkey is higher than the number of cases reported, and People Living with HIV (PLWHIV) may refrain from acknowledging their sickness or seeking help because of the stigma associated with HIV and fear of discrimination from their close friends, workmates, and even their families. In this paper we aim to explore HIV-positive people's relationships with significant others such as family members, friends, sexual partners, employers and health professionals in order to present the patients' perceptions about stigma and attitudes that lead to pro-social or anti-social behavior towards them. We carried out a qualitative study based on in-depth interviews with 16 PLWHIV in order to understand the conditions of people living with HIV/AIDS in Turkey. Our results revealed that except for family relations, the fear of contagion is the main obstacle for HIV-positive people's relations with others. HIV-positive people are severely afflicted with discrimination due to the overlapping "instrumental" and "symbolic" stigmas that directly affect their relations. The attribute of responsibility is related to gender and socio-economic status of PLWHIV living in Turkey.


HIV/AIDS, Stigma, Social Relations, Attributions, Turkey, Grounded Theory


We would like to thank UNDP national and regional staff for their financial and technical contributions. We also would like to express our sincere appreciations to Sociology Association, Positive Living Association, HATAM and Numune Hospital for their sincere support. We are also grateful to all participants who made this research possible.

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