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Exploring beliefs and experiences underlying self-stigma among sex workers in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Authors
  • Huber, Jasmine1
  • Ferris France, Nadine2
  • Nguyen, Van Anh3
  • Nguyen, Hoai Huong3
  • Thi Hai Oanh, Khuat3
  • Byrne, Elaine4
  • 1 Centre for Global Health, School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland. , (Ireland)
  • 2 The Work for Change, Dublin, Ireland. , (Ireland)
  • 3 The Center for Supporting Community Development Activities (SCDI), Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • 4 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland. , (Ireland)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Culture, health & sexuality
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2019
Volume
21
Issue
12
Pages
1425–1438
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2019.1566572
PMID: 30794065
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Sex workers are among the most stigmatised people globally, with sex workers in Vietnam being no exception. Self-stigma affects sex workers adversely, harming psychological health and acting as a barrier to seeking health care. To inform programmes and interventions to improve well-being, identifying unhelpful or negative core beliefs may provide the basis from which individuals can be supported. With this in mind, this study aimed to gain the perspective of sex workers in Vietnam on the contexts of their working lives. Data were collected in Hanoi. Fourteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with Vietnamese sex workers over the age of 18 who were working or formerly worked in Vietnam. Data were analysed manually, informed by theoretical models of self-stigma using inductive thematic analysis. The analysis identified negative/unhelpful core beliefs (disclosure, self-stigma and shame, sexuality, sexual pleasure relationships, health care); contextual life circumstances (sex work, violence, traditional education); and coping mechanisms (problem-focused coping, emotion-focused coping). Findings identify the importance of core beliefs in understanding self-stigma, paving the way for programmes and interventions to address self-stigma among sex workers.

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