The role of HIV/AIDS Home based care in promoting positive sexual behaviours among adolescents in Kabwe Urban
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The home based care programme has been set up throughout the country. This was one of the responses to the ever-increasing prevalence rate of the Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV). While indeed many studies have documented the devastating effect of HIV and Acquired Immune Deficiency Virus (AIDS) on the Zambian community and families with the consequence of adolescents having to start heading households thus becoming caregivers themselves, no study yet had examined the impact of the home based care programme on adolescent sexual behaviours.Recognizing the high HIV prevalence rate of 16.0% in Zambia among the age group 15-49 years, which includes the highly sexual active adolescents, the current study was conducted to evaluate the role that HIV/AIDS home based care plays in promoting positive sexual behaviours among adolescents.The study was a cross sectional one. It was conducted in Kabwe urban among adolescents, males and females aged from 13 to 23 years. One hundred and three adolescents drawn from 2,496 households having an AIDS patient and being visited by home based care providers were compared with an equivalent number of 103 adolescents living in homes not being visited by home based care providers. These adolescents were drawn from 11 residential areas of Kabwe urban. The adolescents answered questions based on two structured questionnaires. The questionnaires were meant to examine adolescents' attitudes, beliefs and sexual behaviours vis-a-vis HIV/AIDS. Five home based care teams (providers) were also interviewed on their activities with AIDS patients and their families.Data collected was analysed by use of Epi info, a public health statistical package. Results showed that the impact of the home based care programme in promoting positive attitudes and sexual behaviours vis-a-vis HIV/AIDS was not significant. Reasons for this were that home based care teams involved family members particularly adolescents more in caring for their AIDS patients than in family counseling.This was despite the fact that family counselling is an essential component for promoting positive sexual behaviours and attitudes for all family members.The study established that family counselling was not conducted in depth. It only covered one topic of what HIV/AIDS was all about and its primary mode of transmission namely through sexual intercourse. Other modes of transmission such as contaminated blood or sharp instruments were never discussed. The study also established that important topics like HIV risk behaviours, HIV preventive measures and living with HIV/AIDS were not covered. The study recommended among other things: that home based care teams should devote more time to family counselling and that family counseling ought to be more detailed covering topics such as modes of HIV transmission, HIV risk behaviours and HIV preventive measures. Further home based care teams ought to increase the number of their home care providers so that they could spend more time with each family. Finally the study recommended that home based care teams should scale down their work with AIDS patients, to cover only smaller catchment areas in order to match with their limited resources of human and transport.