Tuberculosis and human immunodeficiency virus: exploring stigma in a community in western Uganda

AIDS Care (Impact Factor: 1.6). 02/2014; 26(8). DOI: 10.1080/09540121.2014.882488
Source: PubMed


The threat of tuberculosis (TB) in Uganda cannot be considered in isolation from the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Stigma contributes to delays in seeking treatment and poor adherence for both TB and HIV patients. This study aims to assess and describe stigma and predictors of stigma related to TB and HIV in the population of western Uganda. This was a cross-sectional mixed methods study. A survey was administered to 360 individuals, randomly selected from one district in western Uganda. Participants were classified as low/high stigma based on weighted scores built from survey questions. Logistic regression was used to determine significant predictors for high stigma. Six focus groups were conducted to inform survey findings; themes were developed using content analysis. Twenty-six per cent of respondents were found to have stigmatising attitudes towards HIV and 47% towards TB. Multivariate logistic regression models included age, sex, marital status, education, residence and having a friend with HIV/TB. Those who had an HIV-positive friend were less likely to have high HIV stigma (OR: 0.41, 95% CI: 0.23-0.72). Those with secondary education or more were half as likely to have high TB stigma (OR: 0.50, 95% CI: 0.27-0.91). Focus group participants felt that "normalisation" of HIV has contributed to reduced HIV stigma, but there is still a fear of being recognised at the HIV clinic. TB stigma causes patients to remain silent instead of seeking care. Fear of TB is driven by the assumption that "TB means HIV". Declining HIV stigma is encouraging but more effort needs to be made to improve confidentiality. TB stigma is high and is likely affecting care seeking behaviour; TB awareness campaigns should be a priority and emphasise the treatability and curability of TB, regardless of HIV status.

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