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Evaluation of knowledge, attitudes, and practices of health care providers toward HIV-positive patients in Tanzania

Tanzania HIV Stigma Study Team
Organization: Quality Assurance Project/URC

Region and Country: Africa, Sub Saharan, Tanzania


HIV/AIDS-related stigma has been recognized as one of the largest challenges to improving HIV/AIDS care around the world. Studies suggest that provider stigma may be affecting the quality of care and patient decisions to seek health care services. This study conducted structured interviews with 204 health care providers in three public hospitals in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to evaluate the prevalence of stigma and discrimination among providers toward people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) and the factors associated with stigmatizing attitudes. Information on HIV/AIDS-related knowledge, perceived risk of infection, willingness to care, and availability of protective gear was also obtained. Findings from the study show that providers were familiar with various modes of HIV transmission and presenting symptoms, but had knowledge gaps relating to virology and infection prevention. Over two-thirds perceived some risk of infection during casual contact with PLWHAs, and perceived risks of infection for specific medical procedures varied substantially. Some providers rated procedures as having "high" or "moderate" risk for HIV/AIDS infection, while others rated those procedures as having "low" or "no" associated risk. Most providers expressed at least one negative attitude towards PLWHAs, such as blame for infection, particularly if it was considered a result of sexual promiscuity. (excerpt)