PROBLEM: Nigeria has an estimated 3.6 million
people with HIV/AIDS and is home to one out of every11 people with HIV/AIDS
worldwide. In Nigeria, as elsewhere, AIDS is
perceived as a disease of “others” – of people living on the margins of
society, whose lifestyles are considered “perverted” and “sinful.”
Discrimination, stigmatization, and denial are the expected outcomes of such
values, affecting life in families, communities, workplaces, schools, and
health care settings.
OBJECTIVE: The study was designed to determine the
attitude and practices of health care workers towards HIV positive patients at
the Federal Medical Centre Owo , Ondo State, Nigeria.
METHODS: The study was carried out at Federal
Medical Centre Owo in Ondo State, Nigeria. A descriptive cross sectional survey
of all seven categories of health-care workers in the centre was conducted.
Each category of health care workers; Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists,
Physiotherapists, Medical Laboratory Scientists, Health Information Managers
and Medical Imaging Scientists was taken as a sample unit. Sample size
proportional to the size of each unit was selected using simple random sampling
in order to make the calculated overall sample size. Data was obtained
through the use of structured, self-administered questionnaire. Summated
scores were used to assess respondents’ attitudes and practices towards HIV
positive patients. Data analysis was done using the Statistical package for
Social Science (SPSS) version 17. Data were presented using descriptive
statistics of frequencies, percentages, pie and bar charts.
Inferential statistics of Chi-square was used to test for associations between
various factors and the attitude and practices of health care workers towards care
for patients with HIV. Statistical level of significance was set
at P-value <0.05.
An approval to conduct the study was
obtained from Research Ethics Committee of Federal Medical Centre, Owo.
Participants were allowed to give their consent in writing before participating
in the study.
OUTCOME: A considerable percentage (31.8%) of 252
respondents has varying degrees of poor attitude, while almost half (48.8%)
have poor practices towards HIV positive patients. Exposure to blood and other
body fluids or injury as a result of work in the last one year, was found to be
significantly associated with the attitude of health care workers towards HIV
positive patients (P<0.05). It was also revealed in this study that, there
is a statistically significant association between sex, professional status of
health care workers and practices towards HIV positive patients (P<0.05).
This study also showed that 37.7% gave varying degrees of poor
responses to the preventive measures towards discrimination against HIV positive
This study recommended the
inclusion of HIV/AIDS education in the training curriculum of schools attended
by all health care workers, continuous education/counsel of health care workers
on HIV/AIDS, creation of HIV/AIDS policies in all hospitals, further research
on the study, and that all health care workers should serve as examples in the
crusade against discrimination of HIV positive patients.
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