Improving hospital-based quality of care by reducing HIV-related stigma: Evaluation results from Vietnam
Operations Research conducted at four hospitals in Vietnam sought to reduce HIV-related stigma and discrimination among hospital workers. The quasi-experimental study compared effects of focusing on ‘fear-based’ stigma (stemming from lack of knowledge) versus both fear-based and social stigma (stemming from moral judgments). Interventions included staff training (ranging from physicians to ward cleaners), hospital policy development, and supplies provision. At baseline (n = 795), reported stigma was substantial (e.g., about half of hospital workers indicated fear of casually touching PLHIV, and felt HIV was a punishment for bad behavior). By endline, stigma measures had improved significantly for both intervention groups (e.g., proportion reporting signs on beds indicating HIV status decreased from 51 to 24 % in Arm 1, and 31 to 7 % in Arm 2), with the combined intervention group showing greater effects. This study highlights successful strategies to reduce stigma, and thus, improve quality of care for PLHIV.