The effects of hiv/aids related discrimination on people living with hiv/aids: a case of Nairobi District
Rithaa, James M
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The purpose of this study is to demystify stigma and discrimination by identifying the challenges it poses to PL WHAs in society. In this regard, the study sought to identify the effects of HIV IAIDS related discrimination on; the economic wellbeing ofPL WHAs, on their ability to engage in meaningful social interaction with other members of society and on its effects on the care and treatment they receive from health care officials. The study was conducted in Nairobi district. The specific sites for he study were three NGOs active in providing support and care for PL WHAs namely; WOF AK, KENW A and the AMREF 'KCBHC. These NGOs were purposively selected by the researcher to provide an enabling environment for accessing respondents for this study. The study adopted a triangulation research design and utilized both quantitative and qualitative research designs. Primary data were collected from 78 purposively selected PL WHAs using a questionnaire and from ten key informants using an interview guide. The key informants comprised of two health care workers, two counselors, two HIV project managers, two HIV project administrators and two social workers. Data gathered from PL WHAs was analyzed using the SPSS and the descriptive statistics were presented in form of tables and figures. Data gathered from the key informants was organized and summarized to be more manageable. Secondary data relevant to the study were also collected from books, journals and from the Internet. Ethical ,considerations in conducting the research were observed by seeking permission from relevant authorities such as the Ministry of health and from NGO project managers before collecting data. The respondents participation in the research was absolutely voluntary and no coercion or incentives were offered for their participation. Information gathered from the respondents was held with a lot of privacy and confidentiality. The major findings of the study were that HIV/AIDS related discrimination affected the livelihoods of PL WHAs. It was seen to affect their economic well being. This was as a result of PL WHAs being denied access to employment, credit, property, being sacked as well as experiencing losses in business as a result of being abandoned by prospective customers who had learnt of their HIV status. The ability of PL WHAs to engage in meaningful social interaction with other members of society was also affected. They experienced isolation, neglect, abandonment and abuse by family members, relatives and other society members. They were also denied access to basic needs as well as active participation in CBAs. The study also identified that discrimination affected the care and treatment PL WHAs receive from health care workers. They faced isolation and neglect, denial of medicine as well as abuse and insults. These forms of discrimination affected the support, care and treatment they received from health care officials. The 3 study hypotheses were tested using chi-square. It was noted that there existed a significance relationship between the variables in all the alternative hypotheses. In conclusion, the study noted HIV/AIDS related discrimination was a daily occurrence and was experienced daily by PLWHAs. The study also noted that it affected the entire livelihoods of PLWHAs and undermined their efforts of living positively with the virus. To effectively deal with ..discrimination, the Government, NGOs, leaders and other stakeholders should all participate in efforts aimed at reducing and ultimately eradicating the vice. The study's policy recommendations were that, the Government and NGOs dealing with HIVIAIDS issues should develop appropriate strategies to identify and create an understanding on the origins and nature of stigma and discrimination and the factors that contribute to its prevalence and perpetuation in many societies. The Government in collaboration NGOs should undertake intensive lobbying and advocacy activities to empower PLWHAs to deal with HIVIAIDS related ~iscrimination. The study recommended that PLWHAs and individuals should actively be engaged in advocacy and community mobilization activities to create an awareness of the vice and its effects to those infected. NGOs should develop strategies to curb stigma and discrimination of :E_>LWHbAys educating members of the society on its effects and mobilize and empower community members with knowledge to undertake effective care to support the infected. The Government and NGOs should enact, strengthen and enforce laws and policies that uphold the rights ofPL WHAs to reduce HIV/AIDS related discrimination in the society. The Government and employers in the private sector should develop non-discriminatory workplace policies on HIVIAIDS to safeguard employment for those who are infected. The CORPs comprising of community leaders, church leaders, community health workers, policy and opinion leaders should take a leading role in educating and sensitizing the general public on the effects of HIVIAIDS related discrimination on PLWHAs. Finally, society members should all play an active role in _fighting stigma and discrimination to enable PLWHAs live healthy and wholesome lives.