Background: The objective of this study was to determine the knowledge and practices of health care workers in health care facilities in Honiara, Solomon Islands towards people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and key populations.
Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional survey of 160 health care workers who voluntarily consented to complete the self-administered questionnaire. Data was analysed and presented in proportions.
Results: The majority of respondents scored >80.0% on HIV transmission, prevention and risk (TPR). In contrast, only 2/18 (11.1%) and 2/5 (40.0%) of respondents scored >80.0% on voluntary counselling, testing and treatment (VCTD) and care and treatment (CT) questions respectively. The majority (83.9%) of participants were afraid of catching HIV at work and 73.0% of health care workers (HCW) felt it was their right to know if a patient is HIV positive to protect them at work. Main concerns about treating people living HIV (PLHIV) among the HCWs were: fear of becoming contaminated (77.7%); not having the materials needed to protect themselves (60.0%); and personal/professional stigma by association (57.1%) and stigma to clinic or health facilities (44.4%).
Conclusion: The study found that except transmission, prevention and risk knowledge, respondents generally displayed low levels of HIV knowledge with high levels of negative attitudes and unacceptable practices. There is a need for further training in HIV for these HCWs focusing on improving HIV knowledge, as well as clinical aspects of HIV care.