Home Institution

Macalester College

Publication Date

Fall 2013

Program Name

China: Language, Cultures, and Ethnic Minorities


I conducted a qualitative study on the ability of peer-HIV-support groups in Kunming, China to lessen the effects stigma. There is a lack of quantitative studies of stigma in Yunnan, and no studies that address the ability of Kunming peer-groups to lessen the effects of stigma. Over the course of one month, I collected data via questionnaire, individual interviews, group interviews, and scholarly research. My study had sixteen participants (five female sex workers, seven former intravenous drug users, and four men who have sex with men).

My scholarly research revealed that peer-groups are an effective way to: disseminate knowledge to the general population, disseminate information to risk-groups, and battle HIV stigma. Numerous quantitative studies reveal the prevalence of HIV stigma in the general population and that there are numerous barriers to overcoming stigma. All surveyed participants had experienced some degree of discrimination, and participants all agreed that support groups were effective in decreasing their emotional/psychological pressures. From my research, I conclude that support groups can be used to ameliorate stigma in Kunming, and I propose that new HIV educational initiatives must simultaneously attack stigma and ignorance in order to effectively address stigma and HIV/AIDS as a public health issue.


Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Politics and Social Change | Public Health | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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