Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify the principal aspects of stigmatizing attitudes of Chilean health care workers toward people living with HIV.
Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to identify and understand the consequences of the stigma in prevention, treatment and health care of people living with HIV.
Introduction: The HIV pandemic has severely affected people all over the world. When nurses and other HCWs have stigmatizing attitudes toward PLWHIV this leads to discriminatory treatment that interferes with prevention, treatment and care. There are no studies that explore in the presence of stigmatizing attitudes of Chilean HCWs.
Methods: The study uses focus group data from the first phase of a larger study to develop and test an HIV prevention intervention for Chilean nurses and other HWs. Eight focus groups with a total of 84 participants (8-12 participants per group) were conducted with Nurses and other HWs in two communities in Santiago, Chile. Content analysis was used to analyze the data.
Results: Two central themes emerged: Societal Stigma and Discrimination towards PLWHIV and Healthcare System’s Policies Related to HIV. Both inaccurate fears of transmission among the general public, furthermore societal prejudices against homosexuals contributed to stigmatization and discrimination. Nurses and other HWs did not recognize their own stigmatizing attitudes or discriminatory behaviors, but their discussion indicated that these behaviors and attitudes did exist. Healthcare system issues identified included problems with confidentiality due to the desire to inform other Nurses and other HWs about client HIV status
Conclusion: HWs must be sensitized to the current stigmatization and misinformation associated with HIV and its negative impacts on persons living with HIV and the general community. Nurses, as leaders of the nursing teams, need mandatory education for HIV prevention that focuses on changing attitudes as well as sharing knowledge. Also, the Chilean law protecting PLWHIV and the confidentiality of their medical care needs to be publicized along with guidelines for its enactment in health facilities.
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