The study aimed to determine how the forum theater play Melanie portrayed HIV/AIDS stigma, specifically: 1) count occurrences of HIV/AIDS stigma based on three conceptual frameworks on stigmatization; 2) analyze how the theatrical codes identified by Kowzan (1975; as cited by Segre, 1980) are related to the portrayal of HIV/AIDS stigma; and 3) identify the HIV/AIDS themes that surfaced from the open forum.
The play was analyzed through quantitative content analysis. Guided by a codebook, it was studied by watching the recorded performance and reading the script. Reliability results were observed with values ranging from slight to moderate and one poor rating.
A total of 68 scenes were studied and only self-stigma, stereotyping, and producing, legitimizing, and perpetuating social inequality had scenes unanimously identified.
Out of the five theatrical codes, only spoken text and actor’s external aspect were constantly coded in all scenes featuring HIV/AIDS stigma.
Meanwhile, HIV/AIDS testing, HIV/AIDS treatment, and HIV/AIDS prevention and risk reduction were the three most frequently discussed themes during the open forum. Most of which were surfaced from the answers of the cast.
In conclusion, Melanie portrayed HIV/AIDS stigma predominantly through depictions of self-stigma wherein characters insist that they are HIV/AIDS-negative.
Future researchers are suggested to improve coding instructions and the indicators for each type of stigma. It is also suggested that other local plays on HIV/AIDS be studied and a comparative study be done to analyze how HIV/AIDS was tackled in the performance or through the types of stigma presented in this study.
Kathryna Marie Lopez, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Philippines
Aldo Gavril Lim, University of the Philippines Los Baños, Philippines