Impact of stigma on HIV treatment seeking behavior among the youth living with HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa: critical review of literature
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Makerere University, Uganda
Gothenburg University, Sweden
Submission date: 2019-08-06
Final revision date: 2020-09-25
Acceptance date: 2020-09-28
Publication date: 2021-06-30
HIV & AIDS Review 2021;20(2):90-95
An estimated 11.8 million youths in sub-Saharan Africa are living with HIV and AIDS, and more than one-half of those newly infected with HIV today are between 18 and 24 years. This study reviewed research assessing the impact of stigma on HIV treatment seeking behavior among youths in sub-Saharan Africa. The review highlighted particular stigma issues that young people face. Also, it analyzed the causes and consequences of stigma, and identified skills to cope with stigma and to build modalities for a change of behavior. The review include original articles published between 1988 and 2019 on HIV and AIDS stigma, which were found on various internet sites. The review determined that in developing countries, social and economic factors have an impact on HIV infection, including mainly older grandparents and their role as caregivers of orphaned children as a result of parental HIV infection. Therefore, there is a  need to incorporate culturally sensitive modalities that assure target populations’ ability to respond to local understandings of key issues associated with HIV and AIDS stigmatization. Stigma among the youth remains a barrier to all essential components, which constitute a good prevention program, and much detailed research on stigma reduction is required to improve components of a good prevention program. Health education campaigns should integrate a change from fear to care for people living with HIV/AIDS, especially among healthcare personnel. More prevention activities should be situated in rural and remote areas of each country than in urban locations, as currently in Nigeria. Since most of the population resides in rural areas, it is most appropriate to concentrate these programs in such locations.
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