Urban and rural differences in HIV/AIDS stigma in five African countries
Stigma and discrimination have been widely researched, especially within the context of health. In the context of HIV/AIDS, studies have shown that stigma variously impacts on prevention, on accessing treatment, and on care programmes. Decreasing stigma is therefore an important goal in HIV/AIDS programmes. This paper explores whether urban and rural differences existed in reported incidents of HIV stigma from five African countries. A descriptive, qualitative research design was used to explore the experience of HIV stigma of people living with HIV (PLHIV) and nurses. Focus group discussions were held with respondents to capture an emic and etic view of stigma and discrimination. The frequency of reported incidents shows that although comparable numbers of nurses and PLHIV were sampled, the PLHIV from both the urban and rural settings in all five countries conveyed more incidents of received stigma than did the nurses. The results suggest that treatment programmes and support structures need to be designed appropriately for the different settings.