Gender and HIV-related discrimination in the health sector in Nigeria

Chinwe R Nwanna


This study explored the influence of gender on HIV-related discrimination in health care facilities in Lagos state from the perspectives of people living with HIV/AIDS. It hypothesized that women were more vulnerable to discrimination in the healthcare settings than men. Anchoring the analysis on Radical Feminism, the study argued that gender discrimination exacerbated HIV-related discrimination against female PLWHA in the health sector and that women's vulnerability to discrimination was based on the assumption that women were promiscuous. A purposive sample of 80 PLWHA was interviewed from September 2005 to April 2006. The results revealed that female PLWHA were more vulnerable to discrimination than the males. There were statistically significant differences between men and women's experiences in the following areas: mandatory HIV testing, unfair treatment, restricted movements, segregation and isolation from other patients. Rural female PLWHA; those aged 30 - 39 years, married, divorced, separated and widowed female PLWHA, those in paid employment and low income ones experienced discrimination more than the other categories of women. Gender mainstreaming, empowerment of women, formulation and enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, enforcement of CEDAW and education of health workers are recommended.


Discrimination; Gender; Health sector; HIV/AIDS; Lagos; PLWHA; Socio-economic status

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ISSN 2308-7854 (online); ISSN 0850-5780 (print)

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