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Stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in coastal South India
B. Unnikrishnan1, J. Ramapuram2, M. Rao3, R. Syal1
1Kasturba Medical College, Community Medicine, Mangalore, India, 2Kasturba Medical College (Manipal University), Internal Medicine, Mangalore, India, 3Kasturba Medical College (Manipal University), ICTC, Mangalore, India
Background: Stigma and its overtly expressed corollary discrimination, have been described as the “greatest barriers” to disease prevention, and for providing care and support to those living with HIV/AIDS, Overcoming HIV stigma, and perhaps more pertinently discrimination, are fundamental to addressing the HIV epidemic.This study was carried out with the objective to find out the HIV/AIDS related stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV/AIDS in Coastal Karnataka.
Methods: A hospital based descriptive study was carried out in the Mangalore city on a sample size of 204 HIV Positive subjects in the age group of 18 to 65 years executed over a period of six months, HIV Stigma among PLWHA was assessed using 40 Question HIV Stigma Scale. The study was approved by the IEC , Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore.
Results: Majority of HIV positives who participated in this study were of the age group 26-35 years (41.3%) followed by the age group 36-45years (37.5%). 53.8%of them were males. , 63.5% of study population were married. 70.2% of PLWHA belong to the lower socio economic status. Informed written consent for testing was not taken from 5.8% of the subjects. Counseling was done among 29.8% of PLWHA before and after the test, 14.4% of PLWHA claimed that their HIV status was disclosed to someone else prior to them 1.9% PLWHA were refused treatment as a result of their HIV status. 3.8% had to suffer delays in the treatment and had to pay extra for health care services. HIV status of 14.4% PLWHA was disclosed in their work place.
Conclusion: HIV related Stigma & discrimination can have an extreme, negative impact on the lives of PLWHA. Stigma, discrimination and human rights violations are intimately linked, reinforcing and legitimizing each other.
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