Breaking Barriers: Overcoming Nosocomephobia with Improved Viral Load Suppression

Breaking Barriers: Overcoming Nosocomephobia with Improved Viral Load Suppression

FHI 360 Global Fund National Aligned HIV/AIDS Initiative grant through its subaward recipient, Society for Family Health (SFH) is implementing One Stop Shop (OSS) intervention to control the spread of HIV/AIDS among the Key Populations (KPs) including MSM and other vulnerable groups in Gombe state. The intervention improves access and coverage of KPs to high quality comprehensive HIV prevention, testing, and treatment services.

46-year-old Abdul is a tailor and a Man who have Sex with Men (MSM) living in Gombe state. Abdul had been extremely sick that he could not go about his daily work. Every effort to get him to a health facility by his family and friends failed because of morbid fear of the hospital – Nosocomephobia. He had been ashamed of revealing his sexual preferences and afraid of being stigmatized by doctors due to his sexual orientation.

With the support and encouragement of his friend who is an MSM community facilitator supporting the KP program in Gombe state, Abdul decided to visit one of the supported OSS facilities to get tested for HIV.

Abdul’s test result turned out to be positive. He was devastated because he did not envisage that he could be having HIV. He was inconsolable and looked depressed. The OSS manager enrolled Abdul into care at the OSS for immediate access to psychosocial counselling support services and initiation on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART).  With sustained retention in care, Abdul achieved viral suppression and minimized his chances of infecting other people with HIV. Abdul now feels and looks healthier. He has been able to return to his tailoring business. Abdul expressed his gratitude to the programme for helping him without judging him.

“I am now healthier and feel much better. I am so grateful to my dear friend and all the workers at the hospital [the OSS facility managed by SFH in Gombe] who helped me to regain my health and ignited my hope of achieving my dreams and greater heights in life.  Thanks so much to each of them for their care and helping me to overcome a lifelong fear of hospital,” Abdul stated.

Nosocomephobia is an intense fear of hospitals. It is a type of anxiety disorder that can cause symptoms and panic attacks. It may prevent you from getting important medical care or stop you from visiting loved ones. Nosocomephobia may also be related to other fears, such as germs, disease, blood, or needles