Equipping healthcare providers with knowledge of HIV, through the provision of protocols and trainings, is of paramount importance in reducing stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV amongst healthcare providers, according to a study conducted in Southwest Ethiopia.
The healthcare providers who were aware of anti-stigma and anti-discrimination rules and regulations were less likely to contribute to stigma and discrimination.
The study also found that healthcare providers share stigma and discrimination not only related to their occupation but also present in their communities. This implies that community-based anti-stigma and anti-discrimination interventions may also be helpful.
The study makes the following recommendations for ministries/departments of health at the national, regional, or local levels, as well as healthcare institutions and non-governmental organizations working with HIV-positive patients:
- Make available protocols related to HIV to each healthcare provider in healthcare settings.
- Orient healthcare providers about the contents and relevance of the HIV-related policies.
- Provide the opportunity for trainings on stigma and discrimination to healthcare providers from time to time.
- Extend HIV-related care and support services and anti-discrimination interventions to local areas.
- Involve people living with HIV and religious leaders in these activities.
And lastly, healthcare providers themselves should strive to update their knowledge on HIV/AIDS.
1. Feyissa GT, Abebe L, Girma E, Woldie M. Stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV by healthcare providers, Southwest Ethiopia. BMC Public Health 2012; 12: 522. (open access)