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Background: HIV/AIDS related stigmatization has been reported to be traced to several factors. Little or no knowledge on the illness, misapprehensions, as well as chauvinism against sufferers, to mention just a few.
Aim: In this study, the stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS in Ndokwa West Local Government Area (NWLGA) of Delta State, Nigeria, was investigated.
Methods: A total of 300 individuals comprising of, or related to HIV/AIDS sufferers were ethically recruited from the ten (10) communities in NWLGA using a well-structured and validated questionnaire. The data obtained from their responses were carefully analyzed and expressed in simple percentage.
Results: The results showed that about 61 (20.5%) subjects were individuals who resided in urban community and 237 (79.5%) of them in the rural settings. The results on the stigmatization against HIV/AIDS patients due to prejudice revealed that 100 (33.6%) of the respondents strongly disagreed that HIV/AIDS sufferers in the community should be disliked, while 128 (43%) of them disagree with about 50 (16.8%) agreeing and 20 (6.7%) of the respondents strongly agreeing. Furthermore, stigmatization attributable to stereotyping showed that 68 (22.8%) of the respondents strongly disagreed to that everyone infected with HIV/AIDS have high level of sexual promiscuity; were as, about 114 (38.3%) disagreed to that notion with 57 (19.1%) agreeing and 59 (19.8%) strongly agreeing to it. Moreover, HIV/AIDS stigmatization due to discrimination revealed that 66 (22.1%) of the respondents strongly disagreed on never hiring an HIV/AIDS sufferer as a worker. About 98 (32.9%) disagreed on this notion, while 106 (35.6%) of the respondents agreed and 74 (24.8%) strongly disagreeing. Respondents further added that PLWHA should not be employed in any institution or organization and that they should never rent accommodation to them.
Conclusion: Based on the results, stigmatization level of PLWHA was society and awareness dependent.
Recommendations: To cope with the associated menace of HIV/AIDS stigmatization, it is recommended that society be encouraged to evolve strategies, programs and governmental policies, geared towards enlightening and sensitizing the public on the non-transmittability of HIV/AIDS through contact with sufferers as erroneously believed.
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