Attitudes and barriers towards HIV screening: A qualitative study of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Malaysia

Syed Imran Ahmed, Syed Azhar Syed Sulaiman, Mohamed Azmi Hassali, Kaeshaelya Thiruchelvam, Syed Shahzad Hasan, Christopher K.C. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Understanding patients’ perspective towards HIV screening in Malaysia is pivotal to explore challenges faced by these individuals. This would be beneficial for developing local plans to improve the health-seeking behaviours among population at risk of HIV/AIDS. Methods: A qualitative research methodology was adopted to explore HIV/AIDS patients’ views about disease screening. A semi-structured interview guide was used for in-depth patient interviews. All interviews were audio-recorded and were subjected to a standard content analysis framework for data analysis. Results: Most patients were positive about screening and the value of knowing about their status early. However, fear of social stigma, discrimination, lack of support system and lack of public understanding were identified as major concerns affecting their willingness to be screened. They were concerned about mandatory screening being implemented without improvement in support system and public education. Conclusions: Reluctance to seek HIV screening is an important factor contributing to transmission in developing countries. In the Malaysian context, efforts should be made to strengthen screening strategies especially in the most-at-risk populations to monitor the epidemic and target prevention strategies. Practice implications: In a multicultural context, HIV preventive strategies must include disease awareness, including measure to tackle barriers towards screening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-247
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Infection Prevention
Issue number5
Early online date1 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


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