HIV knowledge and stigma among dietetic students in Indonesia: implications for the nutrition education system


Kusuma, M. T. P. L., Kidd, T., Muturi, N., Procter, S. B., Yarrow, L., & Hsu, W. (2020). HIV knowledge and stigma among dietetic students in Indonesia: implications for the nutrition education system. BMC Infectious Disease, 20(663), 1-11. doi: 10.1186/s12879-020-05379-8


Background: Studies have demonstrated that health care students and practitioners are not immune to stigma towards people living with HIV (PLHIV). This attitude could lead to poor quality of care if it remains uncorrected. However, little is known about dietetic students’ acceptance of PLHIV despite their substantial role in treatment. This study aimed to measure the extent of knowledge and stigma towards PLHIV among dietetic students and to determine the associated factors using the attribution theory. Methods: Students from three dietetics schools in Indonesia (n = 516) were recruited to participate in this crosssectional study. Survey questions covered demographic information, interaction with PLHIV, access to information sources, cultural values, and beliefs as predictor variables. The outcome variables were comprehensive knowledge of HIV, HIV and nutrition-specific knowledge, and attitudes. Analyses with linear regression and the stepwise selection were performed to determine factors related to the outcome. Results: The levels of HIV comprehensive knowledge and HIV-nutrition specific knowledge among dietetic students were low, as indicated by the average score of 19.9 ± 0.19 (maximum score = 35) and 8.0 ± 0.11 (maximum score = 15), respectively. The level of negative attitudes towards PLHIV was high, with 99.6% of participants reported having a high stigma score. Types of university affiliation (public or private), beliefs and values, exposure to HIV discourse, access to printed media, and years of study were significantly related to HIV comprehensive knowledge (p < 0.05). Nutrition-specific knowledge was also correlated with university affiliation, beliefs and values, participation in HIV discussion, and years of study (p < 0.05). HIV comprehensive knowledge, university affiliation, discussion participation, and ethnicities were associated with attitudes (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Awareness and acceptance of PLHIV must be further improved throughout dietetic training to ensure patients’ quality of care since students represent future dietary care providers. Considering the consistent findings that affiliation to education institution correlates with HIV knowledge and attitude, some examinations concerning the curriculum and teaching conduct might be necessary