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HIV/AIDS stigmatization amongst the youths in Gulu, Northern Uganda: A major drawback in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS| Abstract

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HIV/AIDS stigmatization amongst the youths in Gulu, Northern Uganda: A major drawback in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS

Abstract

D.L Kitara, P. Okot Bwangamoi, S. Odong, D. Acullu, Emmanuel Odongo-Aginya

In Uganda, HIV/AIDS epidemic has been accompanied by epidemic of fear, ignorance, and denial leading to stigmatization and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. HIV/AIDS-related stigma and the resulting discriminatory acts create circumstances that fuel the spread of HIV. The fear of being identified with HIV prevents people from seeking to know their sero-status, changing unsafe behaviours and caring for the people living with HIV/AIDS. A cross-sectional study was conducted among the youths in Gulu district. Questionnaires were interviewer administered to 100 youth of ages 18 to 30 years. The level of knowledge, attitude and practices regarding HIV stigmatization was assessed. 51% did not know HIV stigmatization, 43% did not test for HIV/AIDS because of fear of stigma. 90% of the youths have practiced stigmatization and are still willing to continue doing it to others as a strategy for HIV prevention. There is sufficient knowledge (49%) about HIV stigmatization. However, there is a negative attitude towards it. 56% youths believe that stigmatization is the best way in reducing the spread of HIV/AIDs. There is a negative practice, (90%) practised stigmatization on suspected HIV/AIDs patients.

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