Experiences and Impact of Stigma and Discrimination among People on Antiretroviral Therapy in Dar es Salaam: A Qualitative Perspective

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Mhode, Maisara ; Nyamhanga, Tumaini (2016)
  • Publisher: Hindawi Publishing Corporation
  • Journal: AIDS Research and Treatment, volume 2,016 (issn: 2090-1240, eissn: 2090-1259)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1155/2016/7925052, pmc: PMC4823479
  • Subject: RC581-607 | Research Article | Immunologic diseases. Allergy | Article Subject

Background. The impact of stigma on adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been less studied in Tanzania. Recent studies indicate that people on ART still experience stigma. Qualitative information on the subject matter is especially insufficient. Objective. This paper reports on the dimensions of stigma and discrimination and their impact on adherence to ART as experienced by people living with HIV (PLHIV). Design. A phenomenological approach was used to gather information on the lived experiences of stigma and discrimination. The sample size was determined according to the saturation principle. Results. Respondents experienced different forms of HIV-related stigma such as verbal, social, and perceived stigma. Various forms of discrimination were experienced, including relational discrimination, mistreatment by health care workers, blame and rejection by spouses, and workplace discrimination. HIV-related stigma and discrimination compromised ART adherence by reinforcing concealment of HIV status and undermining social suppport. Conclusion. After nearly a decade of increasing the provision of ART in Tanzania, PLHIV still experience stigma and discrimination; these experiences still appear to have a negative impact on treatment adherence. Efforts to reduce stigma and discrimination remain relevant in the ART period and should be given more impetus in order to maximize positive treatment outcomes.
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