JOURNAL ARTICLE

Validation of an HIV-related stigma scale among health care providers in a resource-poor Ethiopian setting

Garumma Tolu Feyissa, Lakew Abebe, Eshetu Girma, Mirkuzie Woldie
Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare 2012, 5: 97-113
22536080

BACKGROUND: Stigma and discrimination (SAD) against people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are barriers affecting effective responses to HIV. Understanding the causes and extent of SAD requires the use of a psychometrically reliable and valid scale. The objective of this study was to validate an HIV-related stigma scale among health care providers in a resource-poor setting.

METHODS: A cross-sectional validation study was conducted in 18 health care institutions in southwest Ethiopia, from March 14, 2011 to April 14, 2011. A total of 255 health care providers responded to questionnaires asking about sociodemographic characteristics, HIV knowledge, perceived institutional support (PIS) and HIV-related SAD. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) with principal component extraction and varimax with Kaiser normalization rotation were employed to develop scales for SAD. Eigenvalues greater than 1 were used as a criterion of extraction. Items with item-factor loadings less than 0.4 and items loading onto more than one factor were dropped. The convergent validity of the scales was tested by assessing the association with HIV knowledge, PIS, training on topics related to SAD, educational status, HIV case load, presence of an antiretroviral therapy (ART) service in the health care facility, and perceived religiosity.

RESULTS: Seven factors emerged from the four dimensions of SAD during the EFA. The factor loadings of the items ranged from 0.58 to 0.93. Cronbach's alphas of the scales ranged from 0.80 to 0.95. An in-depth knowledge of HIV, perceptions of institutional support, attendance of training on topics related to SAD, degree or higher education levels, high HIV case loads, the availability of ART in the health care facility and claiming oneself as nonreligious were all negatively associated with SAD as measured by the seven newly identified latent factors.

CONCLUSION: The findings in this study demonstrate that the HIV-related stigma scale is valid and reliable when used in resource-poor settings. Considering the local situation, health care managers and researchers may use this scale to measure and characterize HIV-related SAD among health care providers. Tailoring for local regions may require further development of the tool.

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