Background: Stigma and discrimination against HIV cases is a process of prejudice, devaluation, and unfair treatment based on real or perceived HIV status. Stigma and discrimination towards HIV/AIDS is prevalent all over the world and its challenge is more sever in developing countries. It leads people to leave their home, and to change their daily activities such as shopping or schooling. Our objective was to assess perceived stigma and discrimination towards HIV positive people among in-school adolescents in Babile town, Eastern Ethiopia.
Method: The study was conducted at Babile town in 2015. School based cross-sectional study was carried out among 328 in-school adolescents. All in-school adolescents in Babile town were the source population, whereas the study populations were adolescent students enrolled in randomly selected schools. Systemic random sampling was applied to identify participants and direct interview was used to collect data. The data was cleaned and entered using EPI info version 3 statistical packages and exported to SPSS version 16 for analysis.
Result: Overall 328 (99.7%) participants were interviewed, and 57(17.3%) of the participants showed unwillingness to test for their HIV status. The prevalence of stigma and discrimination against hypothetical HIV positive case were recorded in 44.1%. About 19.3% of the participants showed misperception on HIV transmission & prevention mechanism. More than one third (36.5%) of the respondents declined to disclose HIV status, if he/she became positive.
Conclusion and Recommendation: The prevalence of stigma and discrimination remains high. Significant number of respondents showed failure to HIV disclosure, low motivation for HIV testing and less knowledge on HIV transmission and prevention. Information, communication and education is important strategy to tackle HIV stigma and discrimination problems among in-school adolescents.
Keywords: HIV positive; HIV testing; Transmission and prevention