Worldwide, 780 million people do not have access to improved drinking water supplies and 88% of deaths from diarrheal diseases are attributable to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation, and insufficient hygiene. Access to safe water and practice of low cost home based treatments are generally at lower level in people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Ethiopia. The aim of this study was to assess the water handling and treatment practice of peoples living with HIV in Southern Ethiopia. A cross sectional descriptive study was carried out among 414 study participants in February 2016 at Arba Minch town, Southern Ethiopia. The study participants were selected randomly from all the associations found in Arba Minch town who have HIV/acquired immunodeficiency syndromes (AIDS) infected people with proportional allocation to sample size. Data was collected using structured questionnaire and prepared checklists by trained data collectors. After checking for the completeness and consistency, the data were entered into Epi Info Version 7 software. Finally, descriptive analysis was done using SPSS Version 21 software, and the results were presented and discussed. The majority of clients 403 (97.6%) reported their drinking water source is tap water. Most households 382 (92.5%) had covered their stored water. Most of the respondents practiced pouring method to withdraw water from the stored container. The water status served for the clients showed that 84.5% (349) of households have improved water status. Majority (83.9%) of the households had access to water within a distance of up to 200 m or less. The majority (82.4%) of households had access to water within a time of 30 min or less. About 56% of the households treated drinking water at home. The water handling practice of the participants is not as recommended, and much effort is needed to alleviate this problem.
Key words: Water handling, water treatment, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS).
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