Academic journal article Journal of Health Population and Nutrition

Knowledge on, and Attitude toward, HIV/AIDS among Staff of an International Organization in Bangladesh

Academic journal article Journal of Health Population and Nutrition

Knowledge on, and Attitude toward, HIV/AIDS among Staff of an International Organization in Bangladesh

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in Bangladesh is still low, although infection rate is increasing since 1994, especially among heterosexual males and injecting drug users (1-3). About half of all males and probably a lower proportion of females in Bangladesh experience premarital and/or extramarital sexual relations (4). Other published data indicate the prevalence of high-risk behaviours for transmission of HIV in segments of Bangladeshi population, which include casual unprotected sex, heterosexual and homosexual activities (5, 6).

There is already a high prevalence of HIV seropositivity among commercial sex workers in major cities of India, Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia (7,8). Results of a study in northern Thailand showed high incidence (20.3 per 100 person-years) of HIV infection among brothel-based commercial sex workers despite national efforts for HIV control (9). Thus, the proximity of high-prevalence countries will be a risk factor, if high-risk contacts occur between nationals of these countries.

It is still not uncommon to have transfusion-related HIV infection in general population (10-12). Results of studies with multi-transfused thalassaemia patients attending thalassaemia clinics in New Delhi and rural Bengal, India, showed HIV seropositivity to be 9% and 0.9% respectively (13, 14). In Bangladesh and other Asian countries, blood is not always screened for HIV, and much of the supply is from professional blood donors (15-19). Unfortunately, many donors have multiple sex partners and are positive for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV (15, 19, 20).

Since an accessible, affordable and complete cure for HIV/AIDS and an effective vaccine to prevent HIV infection may not be available in the near future, primary prevention to control the spread of HIV infection is through awareness and changing behaviour remains at the highest priority for HIV control programmes. Awareness about HIV/AIDS among general population of Bangladesh is very low (21). In addition, information about awareness among educated people, particularly in institutional setting, is lacking. This study was conducted at the ICDDR,B: Centre for Health and Population Research to have baseline information for staff-education programme on HIV/ AIDS. The findings may also be useful elsewhere in Bangladesh for those designing interventions for the control of HIV/AIDS among people at work.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

This cross-sectional study was conducted in June 1998 at the ICDDR,B: Centre for Health and Population Research and was approved by the Centre's Research Review and Ethical Review Committees. ICDDR,B, an international non-government and non-profit organization for health research and training, is located in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. The study population comprised all 1,436 members of the staff of ICDDR,B, except 133 personnel on daily-wage basis and 28 core trainers trained in HIV/AIDS. Personnel on daily-wage basis were excluded because of very rapid turnover and not having any employee number.

All eligible members of the staff were stratified according to their job levels as follows:

Job Level 1: General Services Category 1 (GS 1), GS 2, Health Workers, and Community Health Workers (low-income group)

Job Level 2: GS 3 to GS 5 and Fellow Nurses (middle-income group)

Job Level 3: GS 6, Nursing Officers, Fellow Doctors, Research Fellows, National Officers Category A (NO-A), NO-B, NO-C, NO-D, NO-E, and international staff (high-income group)

A systematic random sample of 350 personnel was taken proportionate to the job levels (Level 1: 134 or 38.2%, Level 2: 141 or 40.4%, and Level 3: 75 or 21.4%) using the employee number from the Centre's database.

A pre-tested self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection. The questionnaire was in English with Bengali translation. …

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