Factors that can influence feelings towards and interactions with people living with HIV/AIDS in rural Central Kenya

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BackgroundIn Kenya, HIV incidence and prevalence have declined. HIV rates are lower in rural areas than in urban areas. However, HIV infection is reported higher in men in rural areas (4.5%) compared to those in urban areas (3.7%).ObjectivesThis study examined HIV knowledge, feelings, and interactions towards HIV-infected from 302 participants in rural Central Kenya.MethodsChi square tests and multivariable logistic regression analyzed variables of interest.ResultsMost participants exhibited positive feelings in their interaction with people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA). Association between HIV knowledge and socio-demographic characteristics revealed that the proportion of participants with a correct response differed by gender, age, level of education, and marital status (p < 0.05). Compared to those with inadequate knowledge of HIV/AIDS, participants with adequate HIV/AIDS knowledge were nearly three times as likely to disagree that PLWHA should be legally separated from others to protect public health (adjusted odds ratio: aOR (95% CI) (2.76 (1.12, 6.80).ConclusionsHIV stigma continues to impact HIV prevention strategies particularly in rural Central Kenya. Culturally, appropriate interventions addressing HIV knowledge among those with lower levels of education, single, older, and male are warranted. Review of HIV policies separating high-risk populations from the general population is needed to reduce stigma.

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