Attitudes and Practices of Health Care Workers towards HIV Positive Patients at the Federal Medical Centre Owo Ondo State Nigeria

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Authors : Ebenezer Obi Daniel


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 patients.

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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