MJM, Vol 70 Supplement 1 September 2015
HIV-related stigma and discrimination among semi-urban
population in Malaysia
National Defence University of Malaysia, Sungai Besi Prime Camp, Kuala Lumpur
Background. Stigmatisation towards people living with HIV/AIDS deters the effectiveness of HIV prevention, testing and treatment, and has a negative impact on family and social networks. There is a lack of understanding about HIV-related stigma and discrimination among people living beyond large cities. This cross-sectional study is aimed to explore the level of HIV-related stigma and compare it between people with different socio-demographic characteristics among semi-urban population in Malaysia.
Method. A sample of 106 respondents was generated by convenience sampling during the screening campaign in Alor Gajah, Malaysia. Data collection was carried out based on a pre-tested questionnaire via face-to-face interview.
Results. More than half of the respondents (62.3%) thought that the HIV-positive teacher should not be allowed to continue teaching at school; 81.1% were unsure or disagreed to care for their family member with AIDS at home; 81.2% thought children with HIV/AIDS should not continue to be raised in families; and 77.3% thought they would keep it a secret if their family member got HIV/AIDS. This study did not reveal any significant relationship between sociodemographic profiles and the HIV-related stigma and discrimination.
Conclusion. We found relatively high HIV-related stigma concerning responsibility of people living with HIV/AIDS for immoral behaviour, family and direct interaction stigma, which may hinder HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and social support efforts. Priority should be given to evidence-based interventions to reduce HIV-related stigma. Further research with bigger sample size is needed to investigate the underlying causes of stigmatisation.
Key words: HIV/AIDS, HIV-related, stigma, discrimination, Malaysia.