Percentage of women and men aged 15-49 expressing accepting attitudes towards people living with HIV [disaggregated by sex (female, male), age (15-19, 20-24, 25-49), and education level (none, primary, secondary or higher)]

Export Indicator

Percentage of women and men aged 15-49 expressing accepting attitudes towards people living with HIV, disaggregated by sex (female, male), age (15-19, 20-24, 25-49), and education level (none, primary, secondary or higher).  
What it measures

This indicator measures accepting attitudes toward people living with HIV among women and men aged 15-49.

Rationale

HIV-related stigma refers to unfavourable attitudes, beliefs, and policies directed toward people living with HIV and their family members, close associates and communities. HIV-related stigma can reduce the effectiveness of programmes and services designed for those living with HIV and those who are affected by the disease. For example, studies have shown that some families with orphans have chosen not to receive relief services in order to avoid the stigma attached to these benefits. Other studies found that some families cut themselves off from social support networks long before an AIDS death occurs in the family in order to avoid HIV-related stigma.
HIV awareness programmes are designed to increase accepting attitudes toward people living with HIV or those perceived to be living with HIV. This indicator provides a measure of the effectiveness of HIV awareness programmes and can highlight whether more needs to be done to counter HIV-related stigma.

Numerator

Number of women and men aged 15-49 who report accepting attitudes towards people living with HIV.

Denominator

All respondents aged 15-49 who have heard of HIV.

Calculation

Number of women and men aged 15-49 who report accepting attitudes
toward people living with HIV
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x 100
All respondents aged 15-49 who have heard of HIV

Method of measurement

The numerator is calculated by first asking survey respondents if they have ever heard of HIV. If they answer yes, then they are asked a series of questions about people with HIV, including:
If a member of your family became sick with the HIV virus, would you be willing to care for him or her in your household?;
If you knew that a shopkeeper or food seller had the HIV virus, would you buy fresh vegetables from him/her?;
If a female teacher has the HIV virus but is not sick, should she be allowed to continue teaching in school?; and
If a member of your family became infected with the HIV virus, would you want it to remain a secret?
 
Only respondents who report an accepting or supportive attitude on all four of these questions are counted in the numerator. An accepting attitude for all four questions is considered to be (1) yes; (2) yes; (3) yes; and (4) no.
The denominator consists of all respondents in the survey who have heard of HIV.
 

Measurement frequency

Every 3-5 years

Disaggregation

Age group: 15 years - 19 years, 20 years - 24 years, 25 years - 49 years

Education: Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, None

Gender: Male, Female

Explanation of the numerator
Explanation of the denominator
Strengths and weaknesses

This indicator measures the percentage of the population with accepting attitudes towards people living with HIV, and it provides a measure of HIV-related stigma. It is not, however, a perfect measure of HIV-related stigma. While a low value for the indicator suggests high levels of HIV-related stigma, a high value for the indicator could be interpreted in several ways: that there are low levels of HIV-related stigma, or that people know they should not discriminate and therefore report accepting attitudes. High scores may also reflect the respondent’s limited personal experience with HIV.
 
Another limitation of this indicator is that there is frequently not a direct relationship between attitudes and behaviour. What people actually do in the face of HIV may well differ from what they say they would do. Some studies have found, for example, that people expressing very negative attitudes toward those living with HIV actually provide supportive care for an HIV-infected relative in their own home. On the other hand, some people who deny having negative attitudes towards people with HIV may actively discriminate against them in specific settings, such as in the provision of health care.
 

Further information