African Journal of AIDS Research

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Employees’ experiences of the stigma of HIV in a retail organisation: Secrecy, privacy or trust?

Kgope P. Moalusi


This study unveiled the participants’ experiences of HIV-related stigma in a retail organisation located in the Western Cape province of South Africa. A qualitative approach was adopted because of its appropriateness for unravelling subjective phenomena such as employees’ experiences of HIV-related stigma. In-depth interviews were conducted with 10 HIV-positive employees who volunteered to participate. The findings reveal that the  participants concealed their HIV-positive status because they feared that the co-workers and managers might stigmatise them and breach  confidentiality. The results also revealed that despite being HIV-positive, the participants seemed not to experience a lower work-related self-concept as they said that they are as competent as other employees. The study draws on these empirical findings to theorise about whether concealment of an HIV-positive status is symptomatic of secrecy, the desire for privacy or low levels of trust.

Keywords: confidentiality, discreditable stigmatisation, discredited  stigmatisation, discrimination, prejudice, stereotype
AJOL African Journals Online