Research Article - Journal of Public Health Policy and Planning (2018) Volume 2, Issue 2
Exploration of better policies and programmes to improve socioeconomic status of hiv-affected individuals in nepal: a qualitative study.
The first case of HIV/AIDS in Nepal was reported in 1988. Since then, the HIV epidemic has moved from a ‘low prevalence’ to a ‘concentrated epidemic’ among injecting drug users, sex workers, and male labour migrants who travel between Nepal and India. Objectives of this study were to explore major problems faced by people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV); policy gaps, and recommendations of better policies and programmes to improve the current situation of PLHIV in Nepal. 18 in-depth interviews were conducted in Kathmandu in August 2016. A thematic analysis approach was applied to the information provided. Results of the study revealed that assistance provided to PLHIV by governmental, non-governmental and international organizations was limited. One-third of the participants reported that PLHIV could not continue their job, were not offered employment (33.3%), and they were removed from job by employers after finding out their HIV status (27.8%). One-third reported different types of stigma and discrimination towards PLHIV, including self-stigma. Over a fifth reported that children affected by HIV/ AIDS were discriminated in schools by teachers, fellow students, and school administrators. The study concludes that PLHIV are still facing a number of social and economic problems in Nepal. Although free treatment services are said to be available, they are not completely free. Stigma and discrimination are still highly prevalent in villages compared to cities, and among female compared to male PLHIV. Therefore, specific policies and programmes are recommended to relevant stakeholders to improve the socioeconomic status of PLHIV in Nepal.Author(s): Ak Narayan Poudel*, Padam Simkhada, Kerina I Tull