Medical Journal of Malaysia

MJM, Vol 70 Supplement 1 September 2015

HIV-related stigma and discrimination among semi-urban population in Malaysia

Halyna Lugova, Aye Aye Mon, Aqil Mohammad Daher, Mala Manickam, Adlina Suleiman

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.