Indexed on: 03 Aug '12Published on: 03 Aug '12Published in: AIDS care
The universal access to treatment and care for people living with HIV (PLWHIV) is a major problem especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the majority of HIV infected people live. However, equally important is the fact that HIV/AIDS-related stigma is recognized to be a major obstacle to successfully control the spread of this disease. In this study we measured the HIV/AIDS-related stigma felt by PLWHIV in Cameroon using "The people living with HIV stigma index" questionnaire developed by UNAIDS, International Planned Parenthood Federation and Global Network of PLWHIV/AIDS among others. A total of 200 questionnaires were anonymously administered to PLWHIV in the HIV/AIDS treatment center of the Regional Hospital Annex Buea in the South West Region of Cameroon by trained academics who were themselves PLWHIV. In this setting the major problems faced by the PLWHIV with regard to stigmatization and discrimination were gossiping and verbal insults, which was felt by about half of the interviewees. Equally important was internal stigma, half of the PLWHIV felt ashamed and guilty to be HIV infected. This is the first report of this kind in Cameroon. These results will help to better understand HIV/AIDS-related stigma in this setting and in turn will improve the quality of life of PLWHIV by promoting their acceptance by the community.