HIV positive status disclosure among women attending art clinic at Hawassa University Referral Hospital, South Ethiopia

Taye Gari, Dereje Habte, Endrias Markos
East African Journal of Public Health 2010, 7 (1): 87-91

OBJECTIVE: Disclosure of Human Immune Virus (HIV) positive status may increase opportunities of obtaining social support, implementation of HIV risk reduction with partners and improving access to treatment and motivate partners for voluntary counseling and testing (VCT). Thus, status disclosure is an issue to be addressed for HIV prevention & treatment. The objective of this study is to determine the magnitude, outcome and determinants of HIV positive status disclosure to sexual partners among women people living with HIV/AIDS at Hawassa University Referral Hospital, Southern Ethiopia.

METHODS: A cross sectional survey was conducted on HIV positive women who were attending ART clinic at Hawassa University Referral Hospital from March to April 2008. Single population proportion formula was used to determine sample size. Convenient sampling was used to recruit patients. Using a structured and pre-tested questionnaire, data were collected through patient interview consecutively until the required number of patients was obtained over one month period. Statistical analysis was done to determine the magnitude and factors associated with HIV positive status disclosure.

RESULTS: Overall 85.7% the women had disclosed their HIV positive status to their sexual partners. The common barriers reported for non disclosure of HIV status were fear of abandonment; fear of break-up in relationship and fear of stigma. The negative partner reaction reported by those women who disclosed to sexual partner in this study was found to be high (59.3%). Majority (77.9%) had sexual intercourse in the past 6 month. 9.1% of the women were pregnant since they tested for HIV and significant number of women reported inconsistent use of condom. Being married, being on ART for more than one year and knowing the HIV status of the partner were found to be predictors of HIV positive status disclosure.

CONCLUSION: Even though, the magnitude of HIV positive status disclosure to sexual partner in this study is encouraging, risk behaviors and negative partner reactions following disclosure were high. Therefore; efforts should be made for follow up couple counseling and testing, use of behavior rehearsal technique to overcome barriers of disclosure, and linking of HIV/AIDS interventions with reproductive health services to address gender specific reproductive health needs of women peoples living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) with an emphasis on family planning.

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