Effects of HIV related stigma on mental health of youth living with HIV: a case of Bweyogerere-Wakiso District 18-30 years
Nandudu, Vanessa Esther
MetadataShow full item record
This study investigated the HIV/AIDS stigma and its effects on the mental health of the youth aged between 18-30 years in Bweyogerere-Wakiso. The study also assessed the effect of stigma on the emotional wellbeing of the youth living with HIV, the effect of stigma on how youth living with HIV relate with others, and the effect of stigma on the stress levels of youth living with HIV. The study utilized both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Data was collected using questionnaires from 40 youth living with HIV who are the primary respondents, and using key Informant guides from youth leaders, household members and healthcare leaders. HIV-related stigma was associated with increased mental health issues such as psychological distress; physical and emotional/verbal abuse; low social support, isolation, and a feeling of rejection; and risky health behaviours such as medication hiding and non-adherence to ARVs. Discriminatory actions were manifested in a form of being given separate utensils for their meals and mistreatment at school. Furthermore, some parents did not allow their children to play with the participants out of fear that HIV transmission. Stigma and discrimination are overlooked potential barriers to HIV treatment and care. If HIV services are to effectively meet needs of Youth living with HIV in Wakiso and Uganda as a whole, mental health interventions are needed to prevent and manage depression and improve adherence to ARVs. These findings highlight the crucial need to develop culturally relevant mental interventions aimed at helping YLWHIV to cope with these diverse challenges.