BioéthiqueOnline (Jul 2013)

Disclosure of HIV status and stigma in rural communities in Brazil: A conundrum for researchers

  • Sia, Drissa,
  • Hajizadeh, Mohammad,
  • Hongoh, Valerie,
  • Guimaraes, Patricia Neves

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 2
p. 13


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Stigmatization and discrimination are common consequences following disclosure of HIV serostatus; such factors are especially problematic in rural communities where “everyone knows everyone”. In this case study, researchers conducting ethnographic field studies in remote areas of Brazil decided to impersonate friends or relatives of research participants living with HIV as a means to protect participants from inadvertent disclosure of their serostatus to fellow community members. These acts of “wilful deception” raise issues about honesty and integrity in research, and how to balance issues of confidentiality with communicating research findings to communities and the broader public.