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Keywords:

  • HIV/AIDS;
  • traditional healers;
  • stigma;
  • focus group discussion;
  • Nepal

Summary

Objective  To evaluate HIV/AIDS training for traditional healers (THs) in far western Nepal.

Methods  We collected data using a structured questionnaire and assessed THs’ knowledge of HIV transmission, misconceptions and preventive measures immediately prior to the initial training conducted from June to December 1999, and then 9–12 months after the training in 2000. We also conducted six focus group discussions (FGD) and assessed THs’ performances after the training. We interviewed 12 key informants about their perceptions towards the trained THs.

Results  THs significantly improved their knowledge of HIV transmission, misconceptions and preventive measures after the training. The FGD and key informant interview results showed that the trained THs provided culturally acceptable HIV/AIDS education to the local people, distributed condoms and played a role in reducing the HIV/AIDS-related stigma.

Conclusions  THs have a potential to work as key players in HIV/AIDS programmes in Nepal.