WJA  Vol.5 No.3 , September 2015
Assessment of HIV/AIDS Stigma in a Rural Namibian Community
Abstract: Namibia has been affected by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) pandemic with infected and affected persons experiencing stigma at different levels. Despite the high level of knowledge on HIV/AIDS, stigma remains a challenge. It was for this reason that this paper describes and measures the level of HIV/AIDS stigma in a rural community in Namibia. Mixed methods were used to collect data from 224 participants consisting of 93 people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) who were recruited voluntarily from their support groups, 77 family members nominated by PLWHA participants, 31 community members who were recruited through simple random sampling and 19 opinion leaders who were purposefully selected and four health care workers from an Antiretroviral clinic who were available at the time of this study. Three measurement instruments namely HIV/AIDS Stigma Instrument-PLWHA (HASI-P), Family & Community Stigma Instrument (F&C-SI) and HIV/AIDS Stigma Instrument-Nurse (HASI- N) were used. In-depth interviews were conducted to complement the quantitative results. The study found that stigma manifests in different ways and results revealed that verbal abuse (55%, n = 50, PLWHA), social isolation (73%, n = 67), negative self-perception (33%, n = 30), and household stigma (26% n = 19, family members) were the most common form of stigma experienced by PLWHA. Furthermore health care workers reported stigma of association (50%, n = 2) as care providers for people living with HIV/AIDS. The study concluded that stigma exists although some scores such as fear of contagion and workplace stigma were low. Therefore, interventions in knowledge on basic facts of HIV transmission need to be strengthened. Nonetheless the majority of participants confirmed their willingness to care for sick relatives with HIV and AIDS. This study did not explore stigma of association against caregivers with other participants other than the four health care workers from the antiretroviral clinic. Future researchers can take this further.
Cite this paper: Angula, P. , Ncama, B. and Frohlich, J. (2015) Assessment of HIV/AIDS Stigma in a Rural Namibian Community. World Journal of AIDS, 5, 199-207. doi: 10.4236/wja.2015.53023.

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