Measuring Stigma and Discrimination towards People Living with HIV among Health Care Workers in a Tertiary, Government Teaching Hospital in the Philippines
Background. The incidence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in the Philippines is increasing. HIV-related stigma in the health care setting is a known barrier to healthcare access for people living with HIV (PLHIV).
Objective. The study aimed to identify stigmatizing attitudes and practices towards PLHIV among healthcare workers in Philippine General Hospital.
Methods. In this cross-sectional descriptive study, 375 healthcare workers were recruited via convenience sampling. A standardized questionnaire developed by the Health Policy Project was used.
Results. The study demonstrated concerns regarding transmission, particularly during drawing blood (87.1%), assisting in labor and delivery (82%), and dressing wounds (80.4%). Use of special infection-control measures (76.1%), wearing double gloves (72.8%), additional infection-control procedures during labor and delivery (72.2%), and wearing gloves during all aspects of patient care (70.2%) were reported as well. Perceptions such as the belief that pregnant women who are HIV positive must inform their families of their HIV status (82.1%), and that PLHIV engage in irresponsible behaviors (69.1%) and are promiscuous (66.4%) were also detected.
Conclusion. The study confirmed the presence of HIV-related stigma among healthcare workers in Philippine General Hospital. This finding could potentially catalyze the development of stigma-reducing measures which could hopefully translate to improved healthcare for PLHIV.