Document Type : Original Article
HIV/STI Surveillance Research Center, and WHO Collaborating Center for HIV Surveillance, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran
School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Department of Sociology, Allameh Tabatabai University, Tehran, Iran
Neuroscience Research Center, Institute of Neuropharmacology, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran
Department of Internal Medicine, Afzalipour School of Medicine, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran
Substance Abuse and Dependence Research Center, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Department of Ophthalmology, Afzalipour School of Medicine, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran
Department of Epidemiology, Brown University School of Public Health, Providence, RI, USA
Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada
Division of Social and Behavioural Health Sciences, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
Stigmatizing attitudes among healthcare providers are an important barrier to accessing services among people living with HIV (PLHIV). This cross-sectional study aimed to assess the status and correlates of HIV-related stigma among healthcare providers in Kerman, Iran.
Using a validated and pilot-tested stigma scale questionnaire, we measured HIV-related stigma among 400 healthcare providers recruited from three teaching hospitals (n = 363), private sectors (n = 28), and the only voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) center (n = 9) in Kerman city. Data were gathered using self-administered questionnaires at participants’ workplace during Fall 2016. To examine the correlates of stigmatizing attitudes, we constructed bivariable and multivariable linear regression models.
The mean ± standard deviation (SD) of stigma score was 25.95 ± 7.20 out of the possible 50, with higher scores reflecting more stigmatizing attitudes. Paramedics, nurses’ aides, and housekeeping staff had the highest, and VCT personnel had the lowest average stigma scores, respectively. Multivariable regression analyses showed that prior experience of working with PLHIV (β = -2.48; P = .03), exposure to HIV-related educational courses (β = -2.03; P = .02), and P < .001) were associated with lower stigma scores.
Our findings highlight the need for health managers to provide training opportunities for healthcare providers, including programs that focus on improving HIV-related knowledge for healthcare providers. Enforcing policies that aim to reduce HIV-related stigma and discrimination among healthcare providers in Iran are urgently needed.