Perceived HIV Related Stigma among Patients Attending ART Center of a Tertiary Care Center in Rural West Bengal, India VC09-VC12
Dr. Sharmistha Bhattacherjee,
Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, North Bengal Medical College,
Sushrutanagar, Darjeeling-734012, West Bengal, India.
Introduction: Despite the advent of modern technologies, India is still grappling with the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Stigma is one of the key aspects which can interfere with HIV test-seeking behaviour, care-seeking behaviour upon diagnosis, quality of care given to HIV-positive patients and perception and treatment of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) by communities, families, and partners.
Aim: To determine the perceived stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and its correlates among PLHAs attending the Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) centre of North Bengal Medical College, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India.
Materials and Methods: An observational cross-sectional study was conducted over a period of four months among 454 patients aged =18years attending ART centre of North Bengal Medical College. Perceived stigma among the study subjects were assessed using a face and content validated version of Berger’s HIV stigma scale. Linear regression analysis was used for statistical analysis of the predictors of perceived stigma. Data were analysed using SPSS version 16 software.
Results: The majority of the study population had moderate to low stigma. Regression analysis showed that being on treatment with ART had the highest contribution towards stigma followed by gender and HIV serostatus of the patients.
Conclusion: The patients attending ART centre of North Bengal Medical College had moderate to low level of stigma. In absence of any efficacious stigma reduction programs in this region, more work needs to be done to assist PLHA in coping with stigma.