Discriminatory Attitudes of Pharmacy Students and Pharmacists against People Living with HIV/AIDS
Purpose: To evaluate the level and predictors of discriminatory attitudes of pharmacy students and pharmacists towards people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).
Methods: A cross-sectional survey of pharmacy students and pharmacists (n = 523) to assess discriminatory attitudes towards PLWHA was conducted using a self completed questionnaire. Correlation and regression analyses were conducted.
Results: Pharmacists were more knowledgeable and had less negative perceptions than students towards PLWHA. Level of professional training (p < 0.0001), knowledge status (p < 0.0001) and five negative perception items, namely, (a) people who got HIV through sex deserve it (p = 0.003), (b) PLWHA would make their colleagues apprehensive (p < 0.0001), (c) PLWHA have poor hygiene (r = 0.082, p = 0.032), (d) PLWHA should feel ashamed of themselves (p < 0.0001), and (e) people who behave promiscuously should be blamed for AIDS (p = 0.031), were all significantly associated with higher discrimination. However, being a student and having negative perceptions such as “PLWHA should feel ashamed of themselves and “PLWHA would make their colleagues apprehensive” were independent predictors of discrimination.
Conclusions: Discriminatory attitudes against PLWHA among pharmacy students and pharmacists who participated in this study were high and level of training and their perceptions were contributory.
Keywords: Discrimination, HIV/AIDS, Pharmacists, Perception, Professionalism, Stigmatization.