HIV/AIDS Stigmatization, the Reason for Poor Access to HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) Among the Youths in Gulu (Uganda)
HIV/AIDS-related stigma still exists in many communities in Uganda. Stigma perpetuates discrimination and this may be a key contributor to the spread of HIV/AIDS in this country. Right from the beginning, HIV/AIDS epidemic has been accompanied with fear, ignorance and denial, leading to stigmatization and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS and their families. A study conducted by Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) in Uganda indicated that 64% of the people who tested for HIV/AIDS did not disclose status to their partners due to fear of stigmatization. A cross-sectional study was conducted in Gulu District, Pece sub County among the youths 15 to 35 years old. A structured questionnaire was administered to 86 consented youths who were consecutively selected. Ethical approval was obtained from Gulu Hospital. Most youths (90%) practiced stigmatization,(93.1%) respondents had adequate knowledge on HIV counseling and testing (HCT). However, only (36.1%) had undertaken HCT and the majority did not do because of fear of stigmatization. There is sufficient knowledge, a positive attitude but a poor practice to HCT. There is high level of HIV/AIDS stigmatization among the youths.
Keywords: HIV counseling and testing, stigmatization, youths, Gulu (Uganda)