KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDES AND PRACTICES REGARDING HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS/ACQUIRED IMMUNE DEFICIENCY SYNDROME AND SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS AMONG HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS IN LAHORE, PAKISTAN
AbstractBackground: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection is a global problem of extraordinarydimensions and has so far resulted in nearly 25 million deaths worldwide. Health care providers (HCPs)are considered to play a pivotal role in the provision of preventive and curative services to individualssuffering from HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections. Pakistan, which was previouslycategorised as having a low-prevalence, high-risk HIV epidemic, is now facing a concentrated HIVepidemic among its most at-risk populations such as injecting drug users. The objective of this studywas to assess the knowledge, attitudes and reported practices relating to HIV/AIDS and STIs amongprivate and public sector health care providers providing clinical services in areas where women sellsex. Methods: This was an exploratory quantitative study, where a structured questionnaire wasadministered in face-to-face interviews with 200 HCPs from the public and private sectors. Knowledgeabout AIDS and correct diagnosis of STIs were defined as according to the national guidelines ofNACP. Pearson’s chi-square analysis was performed to test associations between predictors and levelof knowledge of STIs in each group separately. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was employedto indicate predicting factors for correct management of STIs. Results: Forty-five percent of the HCPshad correct knowledge about the transmission and prevention of HIV, whereas 21% had seen a patientwith advanced HIV infection, only two HCPs had been trained to manage such cases and 82% were notaware of syndromic management of STIs. Only 10% could cite the ‘correct treatment’ of gonorrhoea,syphilis and vaginal discharge. The odds of having the ‘correct knowledge’ of diagnosing gonorrhoeaand syphilis were 2.1 (CI 95%, 1.2–3.8) if the HCP was a female medical doctor working in publicsector. Conclusion: Further intensive training is needed to improve the ability of relevant HCPs tocorrectly diagnose and effectively treat patients infected with HIV and STIs.Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Sexually transmitted infections (STI), health care providers (HCP), knowledgeattitudes and practices (KAP), Pakistan
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