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Attitudes of Health Workers towards HIV/AIDS Patients in General Hospitals

Attitudes of Health Workers towards HIV/AIDS Patients in General Hospitals

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Abstract

This descriptive study aimed to investigate the Attitude of Health Workers towards HIV/AIDS patient in General Hospital Etinan, Akwa Ibom State. To guide the study, three objectives were set viz: to identify the attitudes of health workers towards HIV/AIDS patients; to determine the factors influencing the attitude of health workers towards HIV/AIDS patients, and to proffers ways of promoting positive attitude among health workers towards HIV/AIDS patients.

Research questions were also formulated and related literatures were reviewed based on the set objectives. The sample size of 100 respondents was selected using purposive sampling technique. The main instrument for data collection was questionnaire. Data collected were analysed using simple percentages and were presented in tables. Findings revealed the negative attitude of health workers towards HIV/AID patients. It explained factors that leads to the negative attitude of health workers and also proffer solutions that will help to create positive attitudes towards HIV/AIDS patients.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1    Background to the Study

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is one of the killer diseases especially when proper care is not taken. Although it is true that being HIV positive is not a death sentence, yet people especially health workers have different attitudes toward people living with HIV/AIDS. Andersen (2014) defined an attitude as a mental or neural state of readiness organized through experience exerting a directive or dynamic influence on the individual response to all objectives and situations to which it is related. A simpler definition of attitude is a mindset or tendency to act in a particular way due to both an individual’s experience and temperament. Infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) have emerged much tensions and anxieties among the public and healthcare providers (Dorabi and Mark, 2015).

According to Andersen (2014), in reality, the fear of being infected at workplaces has led to irrational and discriminatory treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS. Unfortunately this kind of perspective and practice exists in health professionals despite strong evidence that has revealed nonsexual contact with HIV-positive individuals and also taking careful precautions while working with blood products of these people carry no risk of HIV transmission. Care of such patients concerns the healthcare providers particularly laboratory technicians, general physicians, and nurses who have spent much time with these patients. The consequence of such negative attitude is poor management of people with HIV/AIDS who need most care, treatment, and support (Reis and Heisler, 2015).

Attitudes of Health Workers towards HIV/AIDS Patients in General Hospitals

Dorabi and Mark (2015) maintained that people living with HIV/AIDS require ongoing health care services as they are potentially at increased risk of developing disorders including cardiovascular and liver disease, accelerated bone loss, metabolic disorders, etc. Those able to access medical care are living longer and have improved their health thanks to antiretroviral medications. These patients are experiencing acute HIV-related chronic episodes and other types of illness that can require hospitalization and/or supportive care arrangements (Jewkes and Abrahams, 2008).

Several studies have investigated the attitudes, knowledge and practices of health workers towards patients with HIV/AIDS and underlined that health workers still fear the disease and behave prejudicially toward HIV/AIDS patients. Factors which influence these attitudes include fear of contagion associated with the uncertainty of care and the awareness of feeling useless in providing care for patients with a potentially fatal disease. Taking care of patients with HIV or AIDS requires special knowledge and skills. Cultural differences in health workers, combined with professional ethics and personal beliefs, could also result in conflicting attitudes, which may lead to difficulties related to caring for HIV/AIDS patients (Larsson and Sahlsten, 2011).

Health workers, in particular, are the largest paramedical professional group caring for patients with AIDS (Jewkes and Abrahams, 2008). Studies exploring HIV/AIDS knowledge and practices of health workers have also pointed in the lack of knowledge about HIV transmission and risk prevention, coupled with fear of contagion. There is evidence that there are still health workers who have misconceptions about HIV detection from human biological specimens, such as oral secretion, urine, tears and sweat.

In particular, there are gaps in HIV transmission and risk prevention knowledge, so that there are still health workers who do not treat all biological specimens as potentially HIV-positive, who believe the greatest risk of exposure to HIV/AIDS caring comes from incontinent patients with HIV/AIDS or who affirm that HIV-positive patients should not be put in rooms with other patients when admitted to hospital (Reis and Heisler, 2015). Thus, at the moment, in General Hospital Etinan, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, there is lack of information on health workers’ attitudes towards HIV/AIDS patients. For this reason, the present study aimed to investigate the attitudes of health workers’ attitudes towards HIV/AIDS patients in General Hospital Etinan.

Attitudes of Health Workers towards HIV/AIDS Patients in General Hospitals

1.2    Statement of the Problem

HIV/AIDS have become a serious health and development problem in many countries around the world, particularly in Africa. Discrimination against HIV/AIDS patients by health workers is relatively high as days goes by. People have different misconceptions about HIV/AIDS and this influence their attitudes towards people living with HIV/AIDS. Also, in developing countries, the problem of occupational exposure to HIV has contributed to high attrition rates of the health labour force.

In some cases, health workers become infected with HIV, and in other cases fear of infection causes health care workers to leave their jobs voluntarily. Some People Living with HIV/AIDS have had complaints about the quality of health care they receive from Health facilities as being poor, a fact they are quick to attribute to stigmatization arising as a result of their status(es). With the above problems, the researcher focused her study on “Attitudes of Health Workers towards HIV/AIDS patients at The General Hospital Etinan.”

1.3    Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study was to assess the Attitudes of Health Workers towards HIV/AIDS patients in General Hospital Etinan, Akwa Ibom State.

Specifically, the following objectives will guide the study:

  • To identify the attitudes of health workers towards HIV/AIDS Patients.
  • To determine the factors influencing the attitude of health workers towards HIV/AIDS Patients.
  • To proffer ways health workers can promote positive attitude towards HIV/AIDS Patients.

1.4    Research Questions

  • What are the attitudes of health workers towards HIV/AIDS Patients?
  • What are the factors influencing the attitude of health workers towards HIV/AIDS Patients?
  • In what ways can health workers promote positive attitude toward HIV/AIDS Patients?

1.5    Significance of the Study

  1. The study will beam more light on the problem associated with poor attitude of health workers toward HIV/AIDS patients.
  2. It will help to enlighten the health workers on the principles of solving the problems of poor attitudes toward HIV/AIDS patients.
  • The study will enable Government and Nongovernmental Organizations to regularly sensitize the public about HIV/AIDS and also lessen the stigma toward the people living with HIV/AIDS.
  1. This study will also serve as a reference point or material for future researchers.

1.6    Scope of the Study

The canker worm of poor attitude of health workers toward HIV/AIDS patients has eaten deep into the health sector in the country. This study will assess the attitudes of health workers toward HIV/AIDS patients, factors influencing this attitude with the aim to suggest possible solutions to these problems in General Hospital, Etinan, Akwa Ibom State.

CHAPTER TWO

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

2.1    Introduction

This chapter review related literature under the following headings: Conceptual framework, theoretical framework, and empirical framework.

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