Attitude of antenatal attendees to people living with HIV/AIDS in Uyo, south-south Nigeria

Emem A Bassey, Festus Abasiubong, Uwem Ekanem, Aniekan M Abasiatai
African Health Sciences 2007, 7 (4): 239-43

BACKGROUND: Stigmatization and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS has a negative impact on the global efforts to control the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Due to fear of stigmatization and discrimination, many people are reluctant to undergo voluntary counseling and testing, infected individuals are often unwilling to disclose their status and some of them still engage in high-risk behaviours leading to increased transmission of the virus.

STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: A study of the attitudes to people living with HIV/AIDS was carried out among antenatal clinic attendees at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital with the aim of developing site-specific information and counseling interventions to reduce stigmatization and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS. Information was elicited from 265 randomly selected women who booked for antenatal care between September and December 2005 with the use of a self-administered questionnaire.

RESULTS: 263 questionnaires were duly completed and analyzed. The mean age of the respondents was 27 ± 5.1 years, majority of them (52.1%) were either unemployed or unskilled workers and 42.9% of them had tertiary education. Awareness and knowledge of HIV/ AIDS was high, (95.8%) and (86.7%) respectively. Majority of the respondents (55.6%) were also assessed as having a positive attitude to people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). There was a statistically significant association between good knowledge of HIV/AIDS and a positive attitude to PLWHA (P=0.000) and a high educational status with a positive attitude to PLWHA (P=0.009).

CONCLUSION: combating stigma and discrimination is an important process in controlling the epidemic. Specific information and counseling interventions aimed at dispelling misconceptions about HIV/AIDS should be reinforced.

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