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Trop Med Int Health. 2010 Sep;15(9):1000-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2010.02587.x. Epub 2010 Jul 15.

Challenges to ART scale-up in a rural district in Tanzania: stigma and distrust among Tanzanian health care workers, people living with HIV and community members.

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  • 1Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Global Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. abela.agnarson@ki.se

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To explore attitudes, perceptions and practices among health care workers, antiretroviral treatment (ART) patients and community members regarding ART care and the social consequences of ART roll-out in rural Tanzania.

METHODS:

We performed focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with health care workers, community members, ART patients, religious leaders, as well as social workers. Field observations and ethnographic assessments were conducted in parallel.

RESULTS:

We found widespread negative attitudes and perceptions of ART care HIV testing and the ART programme, a lack of trust in its sustainability, as well as lack of community and health worker involvement in the programme planning and treatment. HIV-positive individuals on ART reported risky behaviours with the aim of revenge and were feared by community members. We also found that the ART availability was seen as an incentive to engage in HIV testing among some community members.

CONCLUSION:

Our findings underline the importance of involving health workers and the community at a high level and their important role in promoting trust in the ART programme. There is an immense need to adjust interventions focusing on stigma reduction in the direction of ART scale-up and to build awareness among ART patients so they understand how risky behaviours affect their personal well-being and the community at large.

© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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