An Exploratory Study of Stigma and Discrimination among People Living with HIV/ AIDS in Abuja Municipal Area Council, Nigeria

Chioma Oduenyi, Emmanuel Ugwa, Zimako Ojukwu, Jachike Ojukwu-Ajasigwe

Abstract

This study examined the magnitude of HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC). A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted using both qualitative and quantitative methods to survey 100 PLWHA resident in AMAC-FCT. Participants were selected through a combination of two-stage and systematic random sampling technique using a table of random numbers. A 40-item structured questionnaire adapted from the HIV Stigma Scale and a semi-structured focus group discussion (FGD) guide were used to collect data. Quantitative data were coded and entered SPSS statistical software. Frequency tables were generated, and data subjected to descriptive and inferential statistics. Cross tabulations examined pattern of associations between respondent‘s characteristics while qualitative findings utilized content analysis along five specific themes to demonstrate the way HIV/AIDS stigma manifested among respondents. Participation was 100% and HIV/AIDS stigma prevalence was high at 67%, with mean age 33.01years (SD±5.94years) for respondents. Findings confirmed rejection of PLWHA by sexual partners, family members and friends, dismissal from work, decrease in the quality of health care services and sometimes outright denial of services. A high correlation was found between the scales and subscales of the HIV Stigma Scale with all correlation values reaching statistical significance (p =0.01). Regret for disclosure of status and ending social interaction by PLWHA was reported as consequences of disclosure and potential hindrance for disclosure which will encourage ongoing transmission of the virus. Our study provides evidence on stigma and discrimination of PLWHA in AMAC, FCT-Abuja in the face of limited evidence to drive HIV prevention interventions. Further studies should investigate other predictors and reasons for stigma and discrimination among this population. (Afr J Reprod Health 2019; 23[1]: 88-99).

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