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Perception about HIV and People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) in Three Local Government Areas of Bauchi State

Samaila Bala Baba , Nigeria

HIV prevalence rate is 3.34 percent in Nigeria with 3.2 million persons living with HIV (PLHIV). The North-East has a prevalence rate of 3.5% with Bauchi State having decreased to 0.6% in 2014 from 2.0% in 2010. Despite the high response to HIV epidemic in Nigeria and in Bauchi State, there still remain challenges. Stigma is prevalent in both communities and healthcare settings and is a major barrier to HIV prevention and treatment adherence. The overall objective of this study is to investigate the burden of stigma and discrimination among PLHIV that impede access and utilization of HIV Services in three Local Government Areas (LGAs)in Bauchi State (Bauchi LGA, Katagum LGA and Tafawa-Balewa LGA) with a view to suggest innovative strategies for improvement. The study investigates 436 respondents consisting of 200 males and 236 females within the ages of 15 to over 50 years. Eligibility criteria for selection were based on age, residency within the LGAs, and membership of Support Group (s) within the LGAs. Purposive and Convenience Sampling were the methodology employed for selecting respondents. Data was analysed using SPSS Version 21. The analysis employed descriptive statistics involving the use of frequencies and percentage distribution which provides general information about the respondents and variables used for the study, Statistical tables were cross- tabulated to show relationships between outcome variables. Some of the findings suggest that 34.1% percent of respondents are ashamed of their HIV status because they are excluded from social gathering, while 41.7%feel guilty because they are excluded from family activities. Over 70% of respondents who earn less than N20,0000 (about $57) per annum do not have access to HIV services due to cost of transport and 49.6% of respondents are divorced within the first 5 years of marriage. The conclusion drawn is that there is evidence to suggest that HIV stigma & discrimination is prevalent among PLHIV in the three LGAs studied

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