The aim of the study was to determine the views of professional nurses on the manifestations of HIV and AIDS stigma and discrimination and their influence on the quality of care rendered to people living with HIV and AIDS in three rural hospitals of Limpopo province, South Africa. The study was qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual in nature. The population included all professional nurses registered with the South African Nursing Council who were working with confirmed HIV-positive patients in the three hospitals and had received specialised training in voluntary counselling and testing (VCT), antiretrovirals (ARV), prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) and couple counselling. A purposive sampling method was used to select both the wards and participants, based on set criteria. A total of 9 wards (6 adult medical and 3 maternity) and 37 participants were selected. Focus group discussions and semi-structured and key informant interviews were conducted. Data were analysed using a combination of data analysis guidelines from different sources. Results revealed that professional nurses were aware of the existence of HIV and AIDS stigma and discrimination in their wards and regarded these as bad and improper care of HIV-positive patients. Behaviour included leaving care of HIV patients to junior members of staff with limited skills and knowledge of HIV and AIDS; showing HIV-positive patients that their disease was dangerous and contagious; judgmental behaviour towards and stereotyping of HIV-positive patients; and regarding patients with HIV and AIDS as uncooperative and problematic in the wards.
Keywords: attitude, discriminatory practices, judgemental behaviour, stigma, people living with HIV and AIDS, professional nurses, quality of care
African Journal of AIDS Research 2013, 12(1): 33–40