Stigmatization of Patients with HIV/AIDS among Doctors and Nurses in Belize

  • Stigmatization of Patients with HIV/AIDS among Doctors and Nurses in Belize

by Aisha Andrewin and Li-Yin Chien




This study, conducted from August to September 2007, utilized a population-based survey to investigate stigmatizing attitudes and acts of discrimination against HIV/AIDS patients among doctors and nurses working in public hospitals in Belize. A total of 230 subjects (81.0%) completed the survey. The mean age was 36.8 years; 75% were women; 61% were nurses; 74% were Belizean. Stigmatization was greatest for “attitudes of blame/judgment”; disclosing a patient’s HIV/AIDS status to colleagues was the most frequent act of discrimination (29%). Formal HIV/AIDS training was significantly associated with less stigmatization for “attitudes towards imposed measures” (p .01); “attitudes of blame/judgment” (p 0.05); and testing without consent (p 0.05). Doctors showed more stigmatization in “attitudes towards imposed measures,” conducted HIV tests without consent and disclosed patient status to colleagues more frequently than nurses (p 0.05) while nurses gave differential care to patients based on HIV status more frequently (p 0.01) than doctors. Female and religious health care workers (HCWs) were more stigmatizing in their “attitudes of blame/judgment” than male and nonreligious HCWs (p 0.05). Cuban HCWs were more stigmatizing in their “attitudes toward imposed measures” and were less comfortable dealing with HIV/AIDS patients than their Belizean counterparts (p0.01). Older age was associated with less frequent disclosure of patients’ HIV status (p 0.05). HIV/AIDS training that incorporates stigma reduction strategies tailored to the target groups identified is needed. Additionally, we recommend that the effectiveness of national HIV/AIDS policies be investigated.



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Keywords: HIV/AIDS, stigmatization, medical staff, patience care.



Suggested APA Reference: Andrewin, A., & Chien, L. Y. (2008). Stigmatization of patients with HIV/AIDS among doctors and nurses in Belize. AIDS patient care and STDs22(11), 897-906.

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