People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Nigeria have been found to be subjects of discrimination and stigmatization in the work place and by family and communities. PLWHA may also face discrimination from those employed in the health sector. This study is aimed at assessing the discriminatory practices of doctors and nurses towards people living with HIV/AIDS in Sokoto. The study was a cross-sectional descriptive involving 108 health workers made up of 38 doctors and 70 nurses selected through a systematic sampling technique. Data was collected using a structured self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaires sought information on socio-demographic characteristics, attitude and practices towards people living with HIV/AIDS. Data collected was analysed using EPI info version 3.4.3. Almost all (87%), the respondents had satisfactory knowledge about HIV/AIDS. At least half of the respondents’ exhibited discriminatory practices towards patients with HIV/AIDS as they would insist on knowing the serostatus of patients before attending to them and disclose the HIV status of patients to other health workers and patients. Only professional cadre demonstrated significant statistical association (P = 0.0298) influencing respondents behaviour to PLWHA. Although the doctors and nurses in this study showed satisfactory knowledge of HIV/AIDS, the study however revealed the existence of many barriers that could constitute impediments to the proper care of patients with HIV/AIDS by these health care providers. There is therefore the need to institutionalize stigma reduction strategies in all health care settings.
Key words: Discrimination, stigmatization, health care providers, people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAS).
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