HIV/AIDS stigma among primary health care workers in Ilorin, Nigeria

O O Sekoni, E T Owoaje
African Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences 2013, 42 (1): 47-57

BACKGROUND: Stigma and discrimination pose major obstacles to accessing care and support by People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Information on HIV stigma and discrimination towards PLWHA among Nigerian health workers has mainly been at higher levels of care. This paper examined HIV stigma and discrimination at the primary health care level with the objective of identifying its occurrence and determinants among health workers at this level.

METHODS: A total sample of all health care workers (341) at the primary health care level in Ilorin, Kwara State were surveyed via questionnaire between July and August 2007 to obtain information on their sociodemographic characteristics and the four domains of stigma viz: fear of casual transmission of HIV, shame and blame, discrimination and disclosure.

RESULTS: Majority of the respondents had fear of casual transmission of HIV (87.7%), exhibited shame and blame (89.4%), reported observing discrimination against PLWHA by other health workers in their facilities (97.7%) and believed that disclosure of patients HIV status to health workers was imperative. Nurses/midwives were more likely to have fear of casual transmission of HIV and believe that disclosure of HIV status of patients was imperative. Respondents who had received in service training were less likely to exhibit shame and blame (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: Stigma occurred in all stigma domains among this group of health workers but previous training was found to play a role in the reduction of shame and blame. Training of health care workers within the context of the various stigma domains is advocated.

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