M-PH : knowledge, beliefs and attitudes regarding counselling behaviour for HIV and AIDS, STIs and TB : a survey of eThekwini district primary health care workers.
Background HIV infection continues to be a challenge in South Africa with new infections reported at alarming rates. Health Care Workers (HCWs) who are nurses consequently have frequent contact with HIV positive and TB co-infected patients. During this contact their counselling behaviour is influenced by their knowledge, beliefs and attitudes about HIV and AIDS, STIs and TB (HAST) and may influence provision as well as the quality of HAST counselling behaviour. Aim The aim of the study was to assess eThekwini Municipality Health Care Workers’ knowledge, beliefs and attitudes regarding counselling behaviour for HAST and to make recommendations based on the findings of this study. Methods A descriptive cross sectional study design was used in which data about HAST counselling behaviour were collected using self administered questionnaires. The study population was all the nurses working at eThekwini Municipality Health clinics that were on duty at the time of the study and excluded those nurses who were absent or on leave during the period of data collection. Informed consent was signed by each respondent. Data were captured using SPSS version 14 and univariate, bivariate and multivariate analysis was undertaken. The level of significance was P<0, 05. Results The HCWs were well informed regarding counselling behaviour for HAST. HCWs with university education scored higher than those with college level of education but there were no statistically significant differences between the HCWs with the university education and those with college education. However some HCWs’ attitudes and beliefs about poverty were negative and may not be helpful in improving a patient’s health. Results showed that some HCWs’ negative attitudes about HAST counselling resulted from fear of HIV and or TB infection. Age and the level of education showed statistically significant association with beliefs. Older, better educated HCWs with a university education scored higher for knowledge for HAST counselling behaviour. There was no statistical significant difference found between HCWs who see less than 100 patients per day and those who see more than 100 patients per day. Conclusion The findings of the study show that HCWs were well informed regarding counselling behaviour for HAST, even though some HCWs have negative attitudes which are not supportive which need to be addressed. Recommendations It is recommended that HCWs receive continuous training in order to address the negative attitudes about counselling behaviour for HAST.
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