Date of Paper

5-2012

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

msw

Department

socialwork

First Advisor

Philip AuClaire

Abstract

This study examines the generational differences and perceptions of HIV today and over the last 30 years from the viewpoint of ten individuals living with HIV. Despite the high prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS among young men who have sex with men (MSM), African American women, as well as other minority groups, little is known about how stigma and sexual risk perception play a role in the continued rise in HIV incidence throughout theUnited Statesand the world today. This paper will show that as medications have improved and become readily available to the public, cavalier attitudes among the younger generation towards contracting HIV are becoming more typical. Data was collected by interviewing five individuals, each of whom has been living with HIV for over 20 years, and five young MSM who have been diagnosed with HIV within the last three years. The data were coded, and several themes emerged, revealing that along with drugs, stigma, myths, risky sexual behaviors and cavalier attitudes towards HIV have played a major role in the transmission of the disease today. There are multiple perceptions of HIV. This study reveals that each population has its own beliefs about risk, stigma and views on medications and attitudes towards acceptance of HIV being part of today’s culture. This study left the door open for more in-depth research to be completed, not only on what the perception of HIV is today, but why this is and how to end the epidemic.

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