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FACTORS AFFECTING HIV STIGMA AND ITS EFFECT ON WOMEN OF CHILD BEARING

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FACTORS AFFECTING HIV STIGMA AND ITS EFFECT ON WOMEN OF CHILD BEARING 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

The stigma and discrimination surrounding Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) are multifaceted and intricate. This is problematic because stigma and discrimination must be addressed for interventions aimed at preventing the transmission of HIV to be as effective as possible (Health Policy Initiative, 2010 cited in Goffman (2018). To ensure the sustainability of progress made towards reducing HIV infection rates, it is critical to confront the problem of HIV stigmatisation. Health-related stigma has a lengthy history and has had a significant impact on a variety of diseases, including HIV, leprosy, and tuberculosis. A health-related stigma is a societal characteristic that manifests itself in the form of rejection or exclusion for the affected individual, as described by Schechter, Bakor, Kone, Robinson, Lue, and Senturie (2019). 

Stigma was defined by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS; 2018) as an indication, trace, or detriment to an individual that is considered dishonourable. Stigma is an intrinsic component of the societal framework and values, permeating every aspect of life within a given community (Herek & Capitanio, 2021). Stigma, as defined by Goffman (2018), is a "discrediting" quality that renders an individual socially unacceptable (Health Policy Initiative, 2010 cited in Goffman 2018). 

The prevalence of stigma continues to escalate across a range of medical conditions. Stigma poses a substantial barrier to individuals disclosing their HIV status, as the apprehension of facing stigmatisation and discrimination from their community of residences precludes them from doing so. Globally, nine out of every ten individuals who are HIV-positive are estimated to be unaware of their status (Health Policy Initiative, 2010 cited in Goffman 2018). It is imperative that individuals ascertain their HIV status prior to receiving treatment and care for the virus. It is therefore essential to undergo an HIV test in order to obtain treatment and care. 

Counselling received during HIV treatment empowers the patient, especially women, to make future plans. Conversely, HIV stigma exerts an adverse influence on women's decision to undergo testing for the virus and also on their subsequent health-seeking behaviour after being diagnosed. The presence of HIV stigma increases the probability that a woman will partake in hazardous activities, ultimately leading to compromised health (Health Policy Initiative, 2010 cited in Goffman (2018). Significant public health concerns, HIV and AIDS have far-reaching implications in the realms of employment, human rights, and socioeconomics. 

1.2 Statement of the Problem

While a definitive cure for HIV/AIDS is not yet available, antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been associated with longer life expectancy, reduced opportunistic infections, and enhanced quality of life for those inflicted (Herbst et al.2020). However, the psychosocial health of female patients has become a subject of concern due to the stigmatisation, discrimination, and various other forms of prejudice they face (Beard et al. 2019). 

Stigma is characterised as "a pervasive yet disgraceful societal designation that fundamentally alters individuals' self-perceptions and society's perceptions of them as unique individuals."(Kalichman 2021.). Despite the implementation of a government policy aimed at mitigating the stigma associated with HIV/Aids patients, limited progress has been made in this domain (NPHIV, 2009 cited in Goffman (2018). Ongoing advancements have been made in the prevention and medical management of HIV. Nevertheless, the stigmatisation of victims has severely impeded these efforts and detrimentally affected progress and endeavours. This is primarily due to the stigmatisation encourages noncompliance with prescribed medications, discourages access to care, and ultimately diminishes the quality of life for those affected. In view of the aforementioned, this study seek to examine the factors affecting HIV stigma and its effect on women of child bearing.

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

The overall aim of this study is to examine the factors affecting HIV stigma and its effect on women of child bearing. Hence, the study will be channeled to the following specific objectives;

Determine the extent women of child bearing age are infected with HIV.

Determine the extent women infected with HIV are faced stigma and discrimination in the society.

Determine the effect of HIV stigma on women of child bearing age.

1.4 Research Question

The following questions are formulated inline with the study objectives;

What is the extent women of child bearing age are infected with HIV?

What is the extent women infected with HIV are faced stigma and discrimination in the society?

What are the effects of HIV stigma on women of child bearing age?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

Ho: HIV stigmatization has no negative effect on women of child bearing age.

Ha:  HIV stigmatization has a negative effect on women of child bearing age.

1.6 Significance of the Study 

It is envisaged that the research will have the potential to make a significant contribution to the theoretical models of stigma in the society. The Governments Healthcare Departments, can make use of the findings of the research in addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic issues in the organizations.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This study covered the factors affecting HIV stigma and its effect on women of child bearing. The study will cover women within the age of 20 to 35yrs attending clinic at General Hospital, Amachara General Hospital Umuahia South LGA, Abia State.

1.8 Limitation of the Study

Like in every human endeavour, the researcher encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. More so, the researcher simultaneously engaged in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

Moreover, the case study method utilized in the study posed some challenges to the investigator including the possibility of biases and poor judgment of issues. However, the investigator relied on respect for the general principles of procedures, justice, fairness, objectivity in observation and recording, and weighing of evidence to overcome the challenges.

1.9 Definition of Terms

HIV: HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks cells that help the body fight infection, making a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases. It is spread by contact with certain bodily fluids of a person with HIV, most commonly during unprotected sex (sex without a condom or HIV medicine to prevent or treat HIV), or through sharing injection drug equipment.

AIDS: AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is the late stage of HIV infection that occurs when the body’s immune system is badly damaged because of the virus.

HIV-Vulnerability: One who is open to risky sexual exploitations and attacks.

Stigma:Stigma as the feelings of disapproval that people have about particular illnesses or ways of behaving. 


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