Background: Stigma associated with HIV shapes all aspect of prevention and treatment, yet there are limited data on how HIV-infected adolescents are affected by stigma. Stigma increases risk of psychological problems among HIV-infected individuals which can affect access to treatment and social support services. This study aimed at identifying psychosocial factors of stigma and relationship to healthcare services among adolescents on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Gwale Local Government Area (LGA) of Kano state, Nigeria. Methods: A facility-based cross-sectional survey was carried out from January 26 to February 28, 2020 across six health facilities providing ART service in Gwale local government. A structured interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect the data. ART clients attending clinics were interviewed following an informed consent. Descriptive statistics was used to summarize the data and results are presented using simple frequency tables and percentages. Upon completion of univariate analysis, the data was analyzed at the bivariate level using chi-square test to determine associations between different variables. Results: One hundred and eight (108) clients voluntarily participated in the study of which 54 (50%) are male respondents and 54 (50%) are female respondents. Under the internalized stigma item, 67% of HIV-infected adolescents who have lost their father or mother to AIDS reported feeling less valuable than other children who are not infected with HIV. Under the perceived stigma items, 86% of participants who have lost their father or mother to AIDS reported to have excluded themselves from health services and social activities in the last twelve months due to fear of being insulted. Under the experienced stigma items, 62% of participants who have lost their father or mother to AIDS reported to have been avoided by friends and colleagues in the last twelve months. Conclusion: The study revealed that loss of intimate relation (father or mother) to AIDS and equal treatment with other HIV negative siblings were found to be significantly associated with the three forms of stigma (internalized stigma, perceived stigma, and experienced stigma) including access to healthcare services. There is a need for social and psychological support programs among HIV-infected adolescents.
Heliyon, Volume 7, April 2021,