Background: One of the reported obstacles to the achievement of universal access to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevention, treatment, care, and support programs includes stigma and discrimination from health workers, particularly nurses. Since nursing students would become future practising nurses and are most likely exposed to caring for people living with HIV/AIDS (PL WHA) during their training, it is of great importance to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practice of student nurses toward the reduction of HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination.
Materials and methods: A descriptive survey research design was used. A total of 150 nursing students were selected using the simple random sampling technique of fish bowl method with replacement. Data were obtained using a self-administered (33-item) validated questionnaire to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practice of student nurses with regard to HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination reduction strategies. Reliability of the tool was tested using Cronbach alpha (R) yielding a reliability value of 0.72. Data collected were analyzed with descriptive statistics of frequencies and percentages.
Results: Majority (76.0%) of the respondents were females and 82.7% were married. Respondents were found to have high knowledge (94.0%) of strategies for reducing HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination. Also, 64% had moderate discriminatory attitude, 74% engaged in low discriminatory practice, while 26% engaged in high discriminatory practice.
Conclusions: Student nurses had adequate knowledge about strategies for reducing HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination; negative discriminatory attitude toward PLWHA and some form of discriminatory practices exist in participants' training schools. It is, therefore, recommended that an educational package on reduction of HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination be developed and implemented for the participants.
Keywords: Attitude; HIV; HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination; Nigeria; discrimination; knowledge; nursing; practice; stigma; students.