Stigmatizing attitudes and behaviors toward PLHA in rural China

Sheena G Sullivan, Jie Xu, Yuji Feng, Su Su, Chen Xu, Xinping Ding, Yun Gao, Zhi Dou, Zunyou Wu
AIDS Care 2010, 22 (1): 104-11
Stigma is a significant barrier to effective control of HIV/AIDS, despite laws to control it. The purpose of this study was to examine factors associated with HIV stigma in a rural Chinese community. A survey was conducted in north-west Anhui province among 963 residents to assess HIV-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. Participants scored a mean of 16.6/26 (63.8%) for knowledge. Sixty-eight percent of respondents held at least one fear of casual transmission, 42% would blame people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) for their disease, and 73% thought having HIV is shameful. More than half reported that they had observed at least one stigmatizing behavior toward PLHA in their villages. Multivariable analysis indicated that people with higher education, higher HIV knowledge, higher household wealth and who learned about HIV from professional sources were less likely to hold a stigmatizing attitude, while people who had observed discriminating behaviors toward PLHA in their community and lived in villages with fewer PLHA were more likely to hold a stigmatizing attitude. Despite education campaigns, knowledge remains low and stigmatizing attitudes and behaviors toward PLHA remain a problem.

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