OBJECTIVE: The prime purpose of this study is to assess HIV/AIDS-related self-stigma and discrimination (S&D) attitudes and associated factors using multivariate analysis of data from the 2010-11 National Survey of Understanding the Root of HIV/AIDS Related Stigma and Discrimination.
METHOD: A national telephone survey was carried out with 2271 of the Malaysian public aged 18-60 years. The sample was contacted by random digit dialing covering the whole of Peninsular Malaysia from December 2010 to May 2011. The HIV-transmission knowledge, HIV-related self-stigma, and public stigma were investigated.
RESULTS: Despite high level of HIV-transmission knowledge [mean (SD)=10.56 (2.42), mean score at 70th percentile] the respondents in this study had moderate levels (mean scores near midpoints) of self-stigma and public stigma attitudes. HIV-transmission knowledge score was not significantly correlated with self-stigma score, but showed a significantly small positive effect (r<0.2) for public stigma scores. Ethnicity is the strongest correlate of HIV-transmission knowledge, self-stigma, and public stigma attitudes in the multivariate analyses. Other significant correlates were age, socioeconomic group, and urban-rural setting.
CONCLUSIONS: The root causes of HIV stigma and discriminatory attitudes were not associated with knowledge deficiency. Interventions should be oriented towards promoting de-stigmatization of HIV/AIDS, and tailored socio-culturally.
KEYWORDS: Discriminatory; HIV/AIDS; Knowledge; Stigma
The study aimed to identify the factors associated with street racing among the illegal motorcycle racers in Malaysia also known as the Mat Rempit, and their help-seeking intention. A total of 2,022 Mat Rempit were surveyed. The findings support the notion that experience-seeking, prestige-seeking, excitement-seeking, self-satisfaction, underestimate risk, and social influence were factors influencing illegal motorcycle street racing. The overall intention to seek help was extremely low. The majority (77.9%) reported that they would solve the problem themselves and 75.5% thought that illegal street racing is not big deal and would go away in time. Participants with neither (OR 0.41; 95% CI 0.27-0.62) or at least one parent who is strict (OR 0.52; 95% 0.37-0.73) were less likely to have high help-seeking intention than those with both parents who are strict. Study indicates a need for family-centered intervention to curb illegal street racing.
BACKGROUND: The increasing trend of premarital sexual experience and unintended pregnancies in Malaysia warrants sustained and serious attention. The sensitivities of sex-related issues in a Muslim-majority country create various types of barriers to sexual and reproductive health information, support and practices. This study aims to gain understanding of knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of young women in Malaysia concerning reproductive, contraception and premarital sexual practices.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study was performed, using an anonymous self-administered questionnaire carried out among 1695 female university students in a public university in Malaysia.
RESULTS: Respondents had low scores for knowledge of reproduction and pregnancy (median=4, of maximum score 10), contraceptive uses (median=6, of maximum score 16) and contraceptive availability (median=3, of maximum score 13). The majority of women surveyed do not have liberal values in relation to premarital sexual behaviour (median=37, of maximum 40); higher scores on this scale corresponded to opposing premarital sex. The multivariate analyses showed that ethnic group was the strongest correlate of knowledge and attitude scores; being of Malay Muslim ethnicity was associated significantly with lower knowledge scores and premarital sex permissiveness. Other significant correlates were year of study, maternal occupational groups, level of religious faith, dating status and urban-rural localities. Level of premarital sex permissiveness was inversely correlated with reproduction and pregnancy knowledge score, and contraceptive knowledge scores.
CONCLUSION: Reproductive health knowledge and attitudes were intricately linked to religious values and cultural norms differences surrounding sexual issues.
Folk culture surrounding menstrual-related matters has considerable implications for symptom expression and treatment-seeking behavior. A cross-sectional survey of 1,295 rural adolescent girls aged 13 to 19 years was conducted between February 4 and April 16, 2009 to examine these associations. With a higher score indicating a more positive attitude toward menstruation, the mean attitude score was 3.84 (SD ± 1.62) out of a maximum of six. No significant association was observed between the severity of menstrual symptoms and attitudes. Most (63.1%) of the participants identified themselves as having premenstrual symptoms, and 61.1% viewed premenstrual symptoms as a normal part of menstrual cycle. Participants with a higher severity of symptoms in the premenstrual (OR 1.05, 95% CI 1.01-1.10) and menstrual phase (OR 1.04, 95% CI 1.01-1.07), were more likely to consult a physician for premenstrual symptoms, and having a divorced/separated parents was associated with a reduced odds of consulting a physician compared to those having parents that were married (OR 0.19, 95% CI 0.05-0.83). The findings imply the need for education to help adolescent girls manage menstrual symptoms and increase awareness of the benefit of treating them. Given that menstrual-related information was widely available from mothers, family, and social culture are potentially important in shaping good menstrual attitudes.
Attitudes toward menarche and menstruation are largely influenced by sociological, cultural, and family environmental factors. Recognizing the influential effects that these factors might have on shaping adolescents' attitudes is crucial in designing a more effective means of transmitting health information.
The study was conducted to investigate issues surrounding human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine delivery in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural society. A qualitative in-depth interview study was conducted with a sample of 20 physicians. Physicians described the success of HPV vaccines recommendation as very poor. Many expressed reluctance to offer the vaccine to preadolescents. The most notable barrier to vaccination was the vaccine's high cost. Parents of eligible vaccinees were concerned about the efficacy and side effects of the new vaccine, while adult women have low risk perception for HPV infection. Promoters and inhibitors of HPV vaccination in our multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural community were identified. This study suggests the need to strengthen the infrastructure necessary for HPV vaccine delivery and to specifically target poor underserved women.
BACKGROUND: In-depth understanding of cultural and religious factors limiting organ donation of three ethnic populations (Malay, Chinese, and Indian) in Southeast Asia is lacking. Identification of factors limiting organ donation among these three ethnic groups will provide insights into culturally appropriate strategies to promote acceptance of organ donation in a multiethnic Asian community.
METHODS: A total of 17 focus group discussions (105 participants) were conducted between September and December 2008. Participants were members of the general public aged 18 to 60 years, recruited through convenient sampling around the Klang Valley area of Malaysia.
RESULTS: Although the majority had favorable attitudes toward deceased organ donation and transplantation, a diversity of myths and misinformation were unearthed from the discussions across the ethnic groups. These include perceived religious prohibition, cultural myths and misperceptions, fear of disfigurement, fear of surgery, distrust of the medical system, and family disapproval. Culture and religious beliefs played important prohibitive roles among those opposed to organ donations. There were distinctive ethnic differences in cultural and religious concerns regarding organ donation. Less-educated and rural groups appeared to have more misconceptions than the well-educated and the urban groups.
CONCLUSION: Our findings may assist organ donation and transplantation organizations to reach diverse sociodemographic and ethnic communities with culture-specific information about organ donation. The involvement of community and religious leaders is critical in organ donation requests.
BACKGROUND: The incidence of cervical cancer in developing countries is high and even higher among women in rural areas in these countries.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to assess the knowledge and attitudes towards human papillomavirus (HPV), HPV vaccination, and cervical cancer among young women in rural settings in a Southeast Asia country.
METHODS: A convenience sample of ethnically diverse young rural women in Malaysia was surveyed. Participants were interviewed using a standard questionnaire.
RESULTS: Among the participants (N = 449), knowledge of HPV, HPV vaccination, cervical screening, and cervical cancer risk factors was extremely poor. The mean total knowledge score (14 items) was 2.37 (SD ± 1.97). Although many had never heard of the newly released HPV vaccine, two-thirds professed an intention to receive the HPV vaccine. Intention to receive the vaccine was significantly associated with knowledge of cervical screening and cervical cancer risk factors (OR 1.17; 95% CI 1.03-1.33; P = 0.013). Reasons for vaccine refusal were doubts about safety and efficacy of the new vaccine (27.4%), perceived embarrassment at receiving an STI vaccine (20.7%), and perception of not being at risk of HPV infection (20.0%).
CONCLUSIONS: Providing HPV education to the rural residents is a high priority.
This study assessed the information needs, preferred educational messages and channels of delivery, as well as opinions on strategies to promote organ donation. It aimed to provide insight into a culturally sensitive public education campaign to encourage organ donation in diverse ethnic communities in Asia, namely the Malays, Chinese and Indians.
A total of 17 focus group discussions with 105 participants were conducted between September and December 2008. The participants were members of the general public aged 18 to 60 years, who were recruited through convenient sampling in the Klang Valley area of Malaysia.
Across ethnic groups, there was a general concern about the mistreatment of the deceased's body in the organ procurement process. The Chinese and Indian participants wanted assurance that the body would be treated with respect and care. The Muslims wanted assurance that the handling of a Muslim's body would follow the rules and regulations of the Islamic faith. The most important information requested by the Muslim participants was whether cadaveric donation is permissible in Islam. A lack of national public education and promotion of organ donation was noted. All the three ethnic groups, especially the Malays, required community and religious leaders for support, encouragement and involvement, as sociocultural influences play a significant role in the willingness to donate organs.
The pronounced ethnic differences in information needs suggest that culturally sensitive public educational messages are required. Organ donation and transplantation organisations should work closely with community and religious organisations to address the sociocultural barriers identified.
Malaysia's organ and tissue donation rates are among the lowest in the world. The study aims to explore the knowledge, attitudes, practices and behaviors regarding deceased organ donation and transplantation in the diverse ethnic communities in the state of Selangor, Malaysia.
OBJECTIVE: It has been a little more than a year ago since the prophylactic vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) was released in Malaysia. Little is known about parental knowledge and acceptability of the vaccine. The objective of this study is to assess the mother's knowledge and attitudes toward HPV vaccination. The results are aimed to provide insights into the provision of appropriate educational and promotional program for effective immunization uptake.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Purposive sampling method was adopted for recruitment of participants. A total of 47 mothers participated across 8 focus group discussions carried out between October and November 2007. The transcribed group discussions were analyzed using open-, axial-, and selective-coding procedures.
RESULTS: Respondents have low awareness about the newly released vaccine and the link between HPV and cervical cancer. When provided with information about HPV and cervical cancer, most mothers were in favor of protecting their daughters from cervical cancer using the vaccine. As with any new vaccine, efficacy and safety were the major concern, particularly when the vaccine is recommended to preadolescent. Many expressed concern about the high cost of the vaccine and hope that the inoculation could be at least partially subsidized by the government. A minority were concerned that the sexually transmitted disease-related vaccine would promote sexual activities, and some opposed making vaccination mandatory. For Muslim respondents, the kosher issue of HPV vaccine was an important factor for acceptance.
CONCLUSIONS: Developing public health messages that focus on the susceptibility of HPV infection and its link to cervical cancer to educate parents may have the greatest impact on improving the uptake of the vaccine. Apart from the major concern about safety and efficacy, affordability, and acceptability of vaccinating young children, religious and ethnic backgrounds were important considerations when recommending the HPV vaccine. To foster broad acceptance, these issues need to be addressed before mass vaccination is pushed forward to the Malaysian public.insights into the provision of appropriate educational and promotional program for effective immunization uptake.
OBJECTIVES: Better outcomes of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination would be expected if men become full partners and advocates in vaccination initiative. Men involvement has important implication especially within the context that they are equally responsible for spreading the virus.
METHODS: Twenty-seven men took part in four focus group discussions carried out to assess men's attitudes toward the HPV vaccine between October and November 2007.
RESULTS: The results revealed that men have low awareness about the newly release vaccine and minimal knowledge of HPV and its association with cervical cancer. When provided with information, most men were in favor of protecting their spouses, partners, or daughters from cervical cancer using the vaccine. They were aware of the effects of men's risk behavioral patterns on women's risk for acquiring HPV infections. Many needed assurance about the vaccine's long-term safety and efficacy. They also expressed concern over the high cost of the vaccine. Men in this study played an influential role in the vaccination decision of their child and sexual partners. Many were in favor of male vaccination for cervical cancer prevention of their spouse or partner.
CONCLUSIONS: Vaccine advocacy should put special emphasis on men as sexual partners, husbands, and fathers from a gender equality and partnership perspective. The findings are useful in facilitating the development of strategies for effective immunization initiatives.
This qualitative study used focus group discussions (FGDs) to evaluate information needed in order to make informed human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination decision, opinion on the most acceptable public education messages, and channel of delivery in a multiethnic, multicultural and multireligion country. A total of 19 FGDs were conducted among mothers of eligible vaccinees, young women eligible for the vaccine, and men. Messages that carry accurate information about HPV-cervical cancer link, the HPV preventive vaccines and at the same time minimize the stigma of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) vaccine were preferred. Educational messages for future HPV educational intervention were developed and methods to effectively convey to the public the need for HPV vaccination were identified. The findings serve as a basis for future intervention to develop research-based communication materials and strategies.
Physicians' experiences in providing human papillomavirus (HPV) immunization were assessed by mailed questionnaire. Response rate of 41.4% was achieved. Malay Muslim physicians were more likely to agree that cultural sensitivity is an issue when recommending HPV vaccines. Pediatricians and family physicians were more likely to agree that acceptance is better if vaccines were recommended to prevent cervical cancer than to prevent a sexually transmitted disease. Near 70% rated success of HPV vaccines recommendation in their practice as very poor with the majority patients preferred to postpone immunization. Physicians reported cultural disparities in vaccine uptake and perceived high vaccination cost limits its use.
Focus group discussion is a research methodology in which a small group of participants gather to discuss a specified topic or an issue to generate data. The main characteristic of a focus group is the interaction between the moderator and the group, as well as the interaction between group members. The objective is to give the researcher an understanding of the participants' perspective on the topic in discussion. Focus groups are rapidly gaining popularity in health and medical research. This paper presents a general introduction of the use of focus groups as a research tool within the context of health research, with the intention of promoting its use among researchers in healthcare. A detailed methodology for the conduct of focus groups and analysis of focus group data are discussed. The potentials and limitations of this qualitative research technique are also highlighted.