BACKGROUND: HIV stigma in health care settings acts as a significant barrier to health care. Stigma drivers among health professionals include transmission fears and misconceptions and pre-existing negative attitudes toward marginalized groups vulnerable to HIV. The DriSti intervention, consisted of 2 sessions with videos and interactive exercises on a computer tablet and one interactive face-to-face group session, mostly tablet administered, was designed to target key stigma drivers that included instrumental stigma, symbolic stigma, transmission misconceptions and blame to reduce HIV stigma, and discrimination among nursing students (NS) and ward staff and tested in a cluster randomized trial.
SETTING: This report focuses on second and third year NS recruited from a range of nursing schools that included private, nonprofit, and government-run nursing schools in south India.
RESULTS: Six hundred seventy-nine NS received intervention and 813 NS were in the wait-list control group. Twelve months outcome analyses showed significant reduction among intervention participants in endorsement of coercive policies (P < 0.001) and in the number of situations in which NS intended to discriminate against PLWH (P < 0.001). Mediation analysis revealed that the effects of intervention on endorsement of coercive policies and intent to discriminate against PLWH were partially mediated by reductions in key stigma drivers.
CONCLUSIONS: This brief scalable stigma reduction intervention targeting key stigma drivers fills a critical gap in identifying the mechanistic pathways that aid in stigma reduction among health professionals.