Gender differences in Health seeking behaviour between HIV positive Women and Men in three Community support groups in lusaka Urban

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Daka, Steriah
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As we enter the third decade of the AIDS pandemic, the temptation is great to assume that the epidemic of gender differentials in health seeking behaviour between HIV positive women and men has improved. Most countries have introduced legislative laws and rules protecting people living with HIV and AIDS against gender differentials in health seeking behaviour. Despite these developments anecdotal evidence is showing that differentials in health seeking behaviour still exist.The main aim of this study was to determine factors that influence gender differentials in health seeking behaviour between HIV positive women and men. This was done in order to look at possible interventions community support groups put in place to assist the HIV positive women and men in health seeking behaviour.The study was carried out in three community support health centres,Kalingalinga Auspices,Mtendere and Ng'ombe. The sample consisted of two government health centres and one Non governmental organisation centre. A total of 267 respondents provided the required information (240 HIV positive women and men, 6 counsellors and 21 additional respondents). To achieve its purpose the study used both qualitative and quantitative techniques such as structured and semi-structured questionnaires and in-depth interview guide were used to collect data.The study revealed that pulmonary tuberculosis was the most predominant illness most of the respondents had suffered from as an opportunistic infection amongst HIV and AIDS patients. Majority of the respondents sought medical attention when they had opportunistic infections an indication that they seek medical attention regardless their sex. The study also revealed that majority of the respondents whose relatives decided for them to go for testing were females and men accompanied their spouses for testing and not vice-versa. Overall results predominant made as expressions of stigma in the participating communities was through the use of offensive labels.Ninety percent of the respondents did not shun treatment because of stigma and discrimination as compared to only a few of the respondents. Isolation from friends was one prominent type of discrimination respondents encountered within communities. The study has the following recommendations based on the evidence from the results: the interventions should focus on the increasing awareness about Voluntary Counselling and testing as a starting point to improving access to ART. ; Improvement of access to basic HIV education and prevention facilities such as condoms; strengthening of peer educators to educate the community on HIV issues; increased involvement of male partners as an important feature of the mother-to-child transmission-plus initiative; involvement of communities in design and implementation of HIV initiative is intricate to success, HIV issues and further research to investigate what community activities need to be done in order to increase the uptake of VCT services if more people are to benefit from ART.
Health seeking behaviour--HIV Positive Women and Men