228663 Knowledge and perceptions of HIV & STIs among Amazonian indigenous health practitioners in Peru

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Erin Hurley, MPH , Department of Health Services, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Isaac Alva, MD , Epidemiology, HIV and STD Unit, School of Public Health and Administration, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
Mary Anne Mercer, DrPH , UW Department of Global Health, Health Alliance International, Seattle, WA
E. Roberto Orellana, PhD, MPH, MSW , School of Social Work, Portland State University, Portland, OR
Juan Reategui, RNP , Indigenous Health Program, Asociacion Interetnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana (AIDESEP), Lima, Peru
Elevated rates of HIV and STIs have been reported in the Peruvian Amazon; indigenous populations have not been exempt. This study aimed to increase understanding of indigenous health practitioners' experiences and insights about HIV and STIs in their communities. In June and July of 2009, we conducted 29 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of health students, shamans and midwives from seven Amazonian ethnic groups (Achuar, Awajun, Quechua-Lamista, Murui, Shawi, Shipibo-Konibo, and Wampis) in four cities in Peru: Lima, Bagua, Pucallpa, and Iquitos. Participants from diverse geographic and cultural backgrounds were asked about their knowledge and perceptions of HIV and STIs in their communities. Interviews were transcribed and ATLAS.ti was used to conduct a conventional content analysis. We found: 1) indigenous populations lack education, outreach and care for HIV and STIs, and are uninformed or misinformed about HIV and STI etiology, modes of transmission, preventive measures and available treatments; 2) in various indigenous communities men who have sex with men (MSM) are stigmatized and often associated with HIV; 3) many indigenous people seek traditional medicine for treatment of HIV and STIs. Participants recommended strengthening health systems in the Amazon; developing culturally competent and multi-lingual health outreach programs; supporting shamans and traditional medicine; and enhancing the capacity of indigenous people to study and work in health fields. This study gives voice to indigenous health practitioners of the Peruvian Amazon and illustrates the need to address their recommendations, as well as, MSM and HIV/STI stigma and discrimination in Amazonian indigenous communities.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify common themes expressed by indigenous health practitioners about perceptions of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in their communities. Describe the barriers that face indigenous communities as they seek preventative care, treatment and information about HIV/STIs. List at least three recommendations given by indigenous health practitioners for future action.

Keywords: Indigenous Populations, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am the principle investigator of the study and conducted the data collection, analysis and write-up.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 4326.0: Poster Session 4: HIV/AIDS