Stigma, Discrimination in India Hindering HIV/AIDS Treatment, Care, Study Says
The stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS in India is delaying treatment and care for HIV-positive people, according to a study conducted by the Population Council's Horizons program; Sharan, an Indian nongovernmental organization; and the New Delhi-based Institute of Economic Growth, IRIN/Kenya London News reports. The study, titled "Reducing AIDS-Related Stigma and Discrimination in Indian Hospitals," includes interviews with hospital administrators, physicians, nurses and HIV-positive people and their caregivers at two state-owned hospitals and one private hospital in New Delhi from 2002 through 2004. The study found that most of the discrimination was caused by inherent prejudices against HIV-positive people. The study also found that people living with HIV/AIDS received different levels of treatment largely because of inadequate institutional support for infection control and a lack of knowledge about the disease among hospital staff. Although each hospital had infection control guidelines and the staff had undergone training, "their knowledge was often outdated," according to IRIN/News. The study found mixed reactions among hospital staff regarding HIV counseling and testing practices, and some staff said they were concerned about patients being tested for HIV without informed consent. According to IRIN/News, the study findings were incorporated into a pilot intervention program, which included a checklist that allowed hospital administrators to identify institutional strengths and weaknesses in services to people living with HIV/AIDS. According to the study, after the pilot intervention program, "doctors were more likely to agree that patients should not be tested for HIV without their consent," and "[t]hey also were more likely to seek informed consent ... (when) they ordered an HIV test." In addition, after the program, more physicians and nurses said people living with HIV had the right to decide who should know their status (Snr, IRIN/Kenya London News, 10/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.