Author(s): Tebeje B, Hailu C, Tebeje B, Hailu C
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Infection with Human Immunodeficiency Virus is a serious public health problem costing the lives of many people including health workers. Hence, Ethiopia has developed guideline on the prevention of infection in health institutions in July 2004 and also employed the use of post exposure prophylaxis since the implementation of free antiretroviral in January 2005. However in the country, specifically in Jimma zone, published studies showing the clear picture about HIV post exposure prophylaxis in the work place were non-existent. Therefore, this study was conducted to assess the knowledge, practice and factors associated to HIV post-exposure prophylaxis use among health workers of governmental health institutions in the Zone. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey employing quantitative and qualitative methods was conducted from October to December 2008. Two hundred fifty four health workers participated in the quantitative study. Health workers for focus group discussion and key informants for in-depth interviews were identified with the help of administrators/ HIV/AIDs coordinators of the two administrative health bureaus and institutions included in the study. The quantitative data were entered and cleaned using Epi Info version 6.4 and analysed using SPSS for windows version 11.0. Descriptive statistics and chi-square test was employed to assess association among variables. P-value less than 0.05 was considered statistically significant. RESULTS: Among the total 254 participants, 213 (83.9\%) had inadequate knowledge about post exposure prophylaxis of HIV and 174 (68.5\%) had ever been exposed to HIV risk conditions. Out of 174 health workers exposed to HIV risk, 105 (60.3\%) sustained needle prick/cut by sharps, 77 (44.3\%) to blood and 68 (39.1\%) exposed to patients' body fluid. Perceived causes of exposure were; high workload 77 (44.3\%), lack of protective barriers 58 (33.3\%) and lack of knowledge on standard precautions 31 (17.8\%). One hundred forty two (81.6\%) of those exposed did not use post-exposure prophylaxis. Lack of information about the existence of post-exposure prophylaxis service 48 (33.8\%), fear of stigma and discrimination 46 (32.4\%), lack of understanding the value of reporting 33 (23.2\%) and lack of support and encouragement to report 29 (20.4\%) were the reasons for not using. Moreover, formal (separate) HIV post-exposure prophylaxis centre with proper guideline was non-existent in the study areas. CONCLUSIONS: In general, findings of the quantitative and qualitative study revealed that the knowledge of health workers about post exposure prophylaxis against HIV is inadequate. Though many of the studied health workers had HIV risk exposure, only few used post-exposure prophylaxis. Therefore, establishing a 24 hours accessible formal post-exposure prophylaxis centre with proper guideline is recommended. Health institutions are also advised to raise awareness of their employees on post exposure prophylaxis.
This article was published in Ethiop J Health Sci
and referenced in Journal of AIDS & Clinical Research