"You Have Herpes. Now What?": Stigma in Healthcare Systems and Disclosure Rhetorics
Kruschek, Gina Lynn
Cultural beliefs about sexually transmitted infections, and herpes specifically, are rhetorically constructed and, crucially, the medical realities of such conditions do not often align with the socially constructed ones. This dissertation project explores how stigma and disclosure intersect with communication about sexual health between healthcare providers and their patients. Using a queer feminist methodology and a mixed methods approach, this research answers how healthcare providers are trained to communicate with patients about stigmatized conditions, how stigma impacts disclosure of sexually transmitted infection diagnoses, treatment information, and patient care, and what patients with sexually transmitted infections and technical communicators are doing and can do to intervene in the unjust rhetorical construction of sexually transmitted infections. Findings from semi-structured interviews with currently practicing healthcare providers suggest medical professionals lack access to robust communication training and often go without specific training on how to communicate with patients who have a stigmatized condition, which can have a negative effect on their interactions with patients. In response to this gap in communication and support, individuals with herpes have successfully created a community of both medical and experiential knowledge and support on the social media website tumblr, known as "herpblr." Ultimately, this dissertation theorizes disclosure rhetorics as the process that informs how humans determine who, when, and how they disclose potentially stigmatizing information about themselves to others, and provides avenues for technical communicators to intervene on behalf of both healthcare providers and patients.
Kruschek, Gina Lynn. (December 2019). "You Have Herpes. Now What?": Stigma in Healthcare Systems and Disclosure Rhetorics (Doctoral Dissertation, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/7615.)
Kruschek, Gina Lynn. "You Have Herpes. Now What?": Stigma in Healthcare Systems and Disclosure Rhetorics. Doctoral Dissertation. East Carolina University, December 2019. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/7615. July 31, 2021.
Kruschek, Gina Lynn, “"You Have Herpes. Now What?": Stigma in Healthcare Systems and Disclosure Rhetorics” (Doctoral Dissertation., East Carolina University, December 2019).
Kruschek, Gina Lynn. "You Have Herpes. Now What?": Stigma in Healthcare Systems and Disclosure Rhetorics [Doctoral Dissertation]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; December 2019.
East Carolina University