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Harmful cultural practices and HIV stigma as psychosocial issues in North Central Nigeria

Augustine Bala Nalah (School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Pulau Penang, Malaysia)
Azman Azlinda (School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Pulau Penang, Malaysia)
Singh Jamir Singh Paramjit (School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Pulau Penang, Malaysia)

International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare

ISSN: 2056-4902

Article publication date: 28 October 2020

Issue publication date: 4 June 2021

84

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore the influence of harmful cultural practices and its implications on stigmatization and the spread of HIV infection among people diagnosed with HIV in North Central Nigeria. It will help to identify the cultural values that pose a threat to the social, health and psychological well-being of the members of the society. This study will provide recommendations through educational teachings to community leaders and policymakers for health-care protection through Human Rights Act.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses the qualitative phenomenological research design through a face-to-face in-depth interview to collect data using the audio recorder and field notes. Purposive sampling technique was used to recruit, from three selected hospitals, 20 participants aged 18 years–56 years who gave their consent by filling the informed consent form between April 2019 and July 2019. The data collected were analyzed through thematic analysis using ATLAS.ti 8 software. Also, thematic network analysis was used to visualize the themes, sub-themes and quotations.

Findings

The study findings indicate that sociocultural factors and HIV stigma in Nigeria are significant psychosocial problems that have adverse implications for health and psychological well-being. These problems contribute to the harmful traditional practices, thereby making people vulnerable to contracting HIV infection. The nontherapeutic practices of female genital mutilation, sexual intercourse during menstruation and tribal marks or scarification cause medical complications such as vesicovaginal fistula, rectovaginal fistula and HIV infection. Also, the practice of 18 months of sexual abstinence during breastfeeding predisposes couples to extramarital affairs and HIV infections. The findings also reveal that lack of education contributes to gender inequality.

Originality/value

The research uses a scientific method using ATLAS.ti 8 software for the transcription, organization and thematic analysis of the qualitative data. The study findings will benefit specifically the young girls and women who are usually the victims of the harmful cultural practices of female genital mutilation, gender inequality, sexual intercourse during menstruation and lack of female education in North Central Nigeria. Also, this study will serve as a relevant document and guide for policy implementation of Human and Child Rights Acts against all harmful cultural practices and gender inequality.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors appreciate the staff of the Nasarawa State Ministry of Health Lafia, Nigeria for the approval and all the participants for making time to provide data for the study. There are no funding or grant received whatsoever.

Citation

Nalah, A.B., Azlinda, A. and Paramjit, S.J.S. (2021), "Harmful cultural practices and HIV stigma as psychosocial issues in North Central Nigeria", International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 104-116. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJHRH-06-2020-0042

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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