Stigma among healthcare
workers against people living
with HIV in Sri Lanka
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Measuring HIV stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings


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This study was presented at the Satellite Meeting 08 (organized by the International Labour Organization) of the 11th ICAAP held at Queen Sirikith Convention Centre, Bangkok, Thailand from 18-22 November 2013. The e-poster of the study was also displayed during the congress

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Measuring HIV stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings

  1. 1. Stigma among healthcare workers against people living with HIV in Sri Lanka ZeroNewHIVInfections.ZeroDiscrimination.ZeroAIDS-RelatedDeaths. Implement the ILO Recommendation on HIV and AIDS (No. 200) Background HIV and AIDS-related stigma and discrimination is a significant barrier that prevents people living with HIV (PLHIV) from accessing prevention information, treatment, care and support services. This study aims to quantify the level of stigma among healthcare workers against PLHIV in Sri Lanka. Methods A convenience sample of 832 healthcare workers from six major public sector hospitals in Colombo participated in this study. The workers surveyed included: 130 physicians, 205 nurses, 92 medical laboratory technicians, 154 attendants and 251 labourers. The categories of health workers in the sample were proportional to the actual size of these health workers in the country. A stigma index was developed aimed at quantifying levels of stigma among health workers against PLHIV. The internal consistency of the scale was 0.711 (Cronbach’s alpha). Responses to the stigma index were scaled using the Likert scale: [Agree (1), Can’t say (2), Disagree (3)]. The Index scores ranged from 20 to 60. Higher scores indicated higher levels of stigma. The data was analysed using SPSS v16. Results The median age of the sample was 41 years (SD, 10.6 years). The healthcare workers surveyed had an average of 15 years of work experience in their respective jobs. Over 60% had provided care to an HIV-positive patient. The median score for the stigma index was 38 (46% in percentage scale) and ranged from 36 to 40 (40%-50%). The stigma index was further calculated against the category of staff. The stigma index score among doctors and nurses was 39, while medical laboratory technicians, attendants and labourers had an approximate stigma score of 38, 36 and 37 respectively (p=0.000). Conclusions The stigma index score among health care workers ranged from 36-40. These findings indicate that significant levels of HIV-related stigma are present in healthcare settings, demonstrating the prevalence of discriminatory attitudes among healthcare workers towards PLHIV which created barriers to services Kam Ariyaratne, National STD/AIDS Control Programme M Gunathilake, National STD/AIDS Control Programme D Karawita, National STD/AIDS Control Programme Indira Hettiarachchi, ILO Sri Lanka, Chang Kun Yirenping Legal Aid Association, China, Richard Howard,ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Protect Human Rights at Work Prevent HIV