HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination: A study of health care providers in Bangladesh

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Center for Migration and Refugee Studies

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Research Article

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Journal of the International Association of Physicians in AIDS Care

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People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) are stigmatized and looked at negatively by people at large. Stigma, discrimination, and prejudice extend its reach to people associated with HIV-positive people such as health providers, hospital staff, as well as family member and friends. Studies demonstrate that, in low-income countries, especially in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, health providers' views toward the HIV-positive individuals is not very much different from the general population. The study has been qualitative in nature and conducted among health providers such as physicians and nurses attached to different hospitals. The study was conducted from March 2005 to May 2007. The study shows that 80% of the nurses and 90% of the physicians' behavior with the HIV-positive individuals were discriminatory. They talk to their patients standing far from them. The interview revealed that the spouses of the physicians and nurses in charge of the HIV-positive individuals put pressure to stop serving the patient or even quit the job. The notion that HIV is only transmitted through sexual activities is prevalent among them. Interestingly, although the physicians know well about the routes of transmission, they do not believe it by heart. Therefore, their fear of being infected makes them discriminate against the HIV-positive individuals. HIV-related stigma remains a barrier to effectively fighting this pandemic. Fear of discrimination often prevents people from seeking treatment publicly. There are evidences that they were evicted from home by their families and rejected by their friends and colleagues. The stigma attached to HIV/AIDS can extend into the next generation, placing an emotional burden on them. © The Author(s) 2011.

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