Transactional sex is believed to be a significant driver of the HIV epidemic among young women in South Africa. This sexual risk behaviour is commonly associated with age mixing, concurrency and unsafe sex. It is often described as a survival- or consumption-driven behaviour. South Africa’s history of political oppression as well as the globalization-related economic policies adopted post-apartheid, are suggested as the underlying contexts within which high risk behaviours occur among Black populations. What remains unclear is how these factors combine to affect the particular ways in which transactional sex is used to negotiate life among young Black women in the country.
In this paper we explore the drivers of transactional sex among young women aged 16–24, who reside in a peri-urban community in South Africa. We also interrogate prevailing constructions of the risk behaviour in the context of modernity, widespread availability of commodities, and wealth inequalities in the country.
Data were collected through 5 focus group discussions and 6 individual interviews amongst young women, men, and community members of various age groups in a township in the Western Cape, South Africa.
Young women engaged in transactional sex to meet various needs: some related to survival and others to consumption. In this poverty-stricken community, factors that created a high demand for transactional sex among young women included the pursuit of fashionable images, popular culture, the increased availability of commodities, widespread use of global technologies, poverty and wealth inequalities. Transactional sex encounters were characterized by sexual risk, a casual attitude towards HIV, and male dominance. However, the risk behaviour also allowed women opportunities to adopt new social roles as benefactors in sexual relationships with younger men.
Transactional sex allows poor, young women to access what young people in many parts of the world also prioritize: fashionable clothing and opportunities for inclusion in popular youth culture. In the context of high HIV prevalence in South Africa, strategies are needed that present young women with safer economic gateways to create and consume alternative symbols of modernity and social inclusion.
Transactional sex; Young women; Consumption sex; Survival sex; HIV; Wealth inequalities; Post-apartheid; Global technologies; Modernity; South Africa
Like all women, women living with and at risk of acquiring HIV have the right to determine the number and timing of their pregnancies and to safely achieve their reproductive intentions. Yet, many women in Asia affected by HIV lack access to family planning services and experience disproportionately high rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion. Programs that have succeeded in promoting condom use and providing HIV prevention and treatment services in this region have largely missed the opportunity to address the contraceptive needs of the key populations they serve. The importance of better linkages between family planning and HIV policies and programs is now widely recognized by global health policymakers and donors. However, to date, most of the efforts to improve these linkages have been conducted in Africa. Greater attention is needed to the developing, implementing, and evaluating of integrated family planning/HIV approaches that are tailored to the political, cultural, and public health context in Asia. In this paper, we describe the use of and need for family planning among key populations affected by HIV in Asia, discuss the challenges to effectively addressing of these needs, and offer recommendations for strengthening the linkages between family planning and HIV policies and programs in the region.
Owing to improved management of HIV and its associated opportunistic infections, many HIV-positive persons of reproductive age are choosing to exercise their right of parenthood. This study explored the knowledge of health workers from two Ghanaian districts on the reproductive rights and options available to HIV-positive women who wish to conceive.
Facility-based cross-sectional in design, the study involved the entire population of nurse counselors (32) and medical officers (3) who provide counseling and testing services to clients infected with HIV. Both structured and in-depth interviews were conducted after informed consent.
Two main perspectives were revealed. There was an overwhelmingly high level of approbation by the providers on HIV-positive women’s right to reproduction (94.3%). At the same time, the providers demonstrated a lack of knowledge regarding the various reproductive options available to women infected with HIV. Site of facility, and being younger were associated with practices that violated client’s right to contraceptive counseling (p < 0.05) in each case. Some of the providers openly expressed their inability to give qualified guidance to HIV-positive women on the various reproductive options.
Taken together, these findings suggest that many HIV-positive clients do not receive comprehensive information about their reproductive options. These findings highlight some of the problems that service providers face as HIV counselors. Both service providers and policy makers need to recognize these realities and incorporate reproductive health issues of HIV-persons into the existing guidelines.
The Pool region of the Republic of Congo is an isolated, conflict-affected area with under-resourced and poorly functioning health care services. Despite significant AIDS-related mortality and morbidity in this area, and a national level commitment to universal HIV care, HIV has been largely neglected. In 2005 Médecins Sans Frontières decided to introduce HIV care activities. However, in this setting of high basic health care needs, limited medical resources and competing medical priorities, a vertical HIV programme was not suitable. This paper describes the process of integrating HIV care and treatment into basic health services, the clinical outcomes of 222 patients started on antiretroviral treatment (ART), and the benefits to communities and health care systems. Key lessons learned include the use of multi-skilled human resources, the step-wise implementation of HIV activities, the initial engagement of an HIV experienced staff member, the use of simplified and adapted testing, clinical and monitoring protocols and drug regimens, the introduction of more complex monitoring tools to simplify clinical management decisions and intensive staff education regarding the benefits of HIV integration. This project in a rural and remote conflict-affected setting demonstrates that integrated HIV programs can save lives and play a key role in helping to achieve universal access to ART in Africa.
There is a paucity of research that illustrates the interplay between HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs. We describe the central role that public access to antiretroviral (ARV) medication has played in the development and efficacy of HIV/AIDS prevention programming in Khayelitsha, a resource-poor township in the Western Cape of South Africa. We document the range of preventive interventions and services available in Khayelitsha since the early 1990s and explore the impact of ARV availability on prevention efforts and disease stigma on the basis of extensive indepth interviews, supplemented by data collection. The information gathered suggests that the introduction of the mother-to-child-transmission (MTCT) prevention programs in 1999 and the three HIV treatment clinics run by Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in 2000 were turning points in the region’s response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. These programs have provided incentives for HIV testing, galvanized HIV/AIDS educators to reach populations most at risk, and decreased the HIV incidence rates in Khayeltisha compared to other areas in the Western Cape. Lessons learned in Khayelitsha about the value of treatment availability in facilitating prevention efforts can inform the development of comprehensive approaches to HIV/ AIDS in other resource-poor areas.
HIV/AIDS; HIV prevention; HIV treatment; MTCT; South Africa
From 2002 to 2005, two literature reviews identified a number of reproductive-health issues that appeared to be relatively neglected in relation to HIV/AIDS: contraceptive information tailored to the needs of HIV-positive people; voluntary HIV counselling and testing during antenatal care, labour, and delivery; parenting options for HIV-positive people besides pregnancy through unprotected intercourse (i.e. assisted conception and legal adoption or foster care); unwanted pregnancy; and abortion-related care. An additional finding was that stigma and discrimination were frequently cited as barriers to enjoyment of reproductive rights by HIV-positive women. Subsequently, a pilot project was initiated in which non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in developing countries used benchmarks to ascertain whether these neglected issues were addressed in local programmes and interventions serving women affected by HIV and AIDS. The benchmarks also assessed whether policies and programmes paid attention to the human and reproductive rights of HIV-positive women. This paper describes the main findings from the two exercises in relation to contraception for women living with HIV or AIDS, abortion-related care, legal adoption by HIV-positive parents, and reproductive rights. It concludes with a number of recommendations on topics to be incorporated into the international research agenda, policies, and programmes in the field of HIV/AIDS.
HIV; Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; Women; Reproductive health; Pregnancy; Human rights; Contraception; Abortion; Abortion, Induced; Interventions; Research; Literature review
This paper accepts the idea that patterns and distribution of health care and resources are determined by “realpolitik,” and that South Africa is at present in the throes of a political revolution, the outcome of which is bound to reflect a considerable degree of “self-determination” of the majority black (African, Asian, and mixed-race) people. It is postulated that the health services—and other pre-determinants of the health of the black people—will be shaped by a mixed socialist-capitalist economy and a socialized or nationalized form of health care service. This is because all the leading players in the revolutionary stakes, especially the exiled African National Congress of South Africa (ANC) and the above-ground United Democratic Front (UDF) and its affiliate, the National Alternative Medical and Dental Association (NAMDA), who are the front-runners, advocate these kind of changes for the future of South Africa, as exemplified in the ANC's Freedom Charter of 1955.
Powerful political forces, both inside South Africa and in the Western World, are resisting this outcome, despite it clearly being the democratic will of the people, as shown by all the polls. These reactionary strategies would leave the health of most blacks in South Africa and Namibia little improved over its present status.
Adapting to change is always difficult; all the more so when changes in the administrative structure of health care are part of a national political transformation toward democracy. As South Africa moves from apartheid to integration in its health services, the Witwatersrand Medical Library (WML) will have to adopt innovative strategies to cope with increasing demands on its resources by sub-Saharan African medical libraries and with expected decreases in state funding for health and education. WML also will have to address the lack of hospital library services in the Johannesburg region by expanding its academic branches at University of the Witwatersrand Medical School's teaching hospitals to serve both hospital and academic health care staff. This article discusses these challenges in the context of rapidly changing academic health care services in Johannesburg.
The apartheid ideology in South Africa had a pervasive influence on all levels of education including medical undergraduate training. The role of the health sector in human rights abuses during the apartheid era was highlighted in 1997 during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings. The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) subsequently realised the importance of medical ethics education and encouraged the introduction of such teaching in all medical schools in the country. Curricular reform at the University of Stellenbosch in 1999 presented an unparalleled opportunity to formally introduce ethics teaching to undergraduate students. This paper outlines the introduction of a medical ethics programme at the Faculty of Health Sciences from 2003 to 2006, with special emphasis on the challenges encountered. It remains one of the most comprehensive undergraduate medical ethics programmes in South Africa. However, there is scope for expanding the curricular time allocated to medical ethics. Integrating the curriculum both horizontally and vertically is imperative. Implementing a core curriculum for all medical schools in South Africa would significantly enhance the goals of medical education in the country.
This article discusses an under-researched group and provides an analytical overview of the comparative experiences of African, Indian and Coloured doctors at South African universities during the apartheid era. It probes diversity of experience in training and practice as well as gendered differentiation amongst black students before going on to discuss the careers and political activism of black doctors as well as the impact of recent transformational change on their position. It briefly assesses how singular this South African experience was.
Black Doctor; Racial Discrimination; Apartheid; South Africa; Medical Training; Medical Profession
As life expectancy for HIV-infected persons improves, studies in sub-Saharan Africa show that a considerable proportion of HIV-positive women and men desire to have children in the future. Integrating sexual and reproductive health care into HIV services has emphasized the right of women to make informed choices about their reproductive lives and the right of self-determination to reproduce, but this is often equated with avoidance of pregnancy. Here, we explore guidance and attention to safer conception for HIV-infected women and men and find this right lacking. Current sexual and reproductive health guidelines are not proactive in supporting HIV-positive people desiring children, and are particularly silent about the fertility needs of HIV-infected men and uninfected men in discordant partnerships. Public health policymakers and providers need to engage the HIV-infected and uninfected to determine both the demand and how best to address the need for safer conception services.
HIV infection; HIV-positive women and men; fertility; parenting; reproductive policy and services; contraception
Given current constraints on universal treatment campaigns, recent advances in public health prevention initiatives have revitalized efforts to stem the tide of HIV transmission. Yet, despite a growing imperative for prevention—supported by the promise of behavioral, structural and biomedical approaches to lower the incidence of HIV—human rights frameworks remain limited in addressing collective prevention policy through global health governance. Assessing the evolution of rights-based approaches to global HIV/AIDS policy, this review finds that human rights have shifted from collective public health to individual treatment access. While the advent of the HIV/AIDS pandemic gave meaning to rights in framing global health policy, the application of rights in treatment access litigation came at the expense of public health prevention efforts. Where the human rights framework remains limited to individual rights enforced against a state duty bearer, such rights have faced constrained application in framing population-level policy to realize the public good of HIV prevention. Concluding that human rights frameworks must be developed to reflect the complementarity of individual treatment and collective prevention, this article conceptualizes collective rights to public health, structuring collective combination prevention to alleviate limitations on individual rights frameworks and frame rights-based global HIV/AIDS policy to assure research expansion, prevention access and health system integration.
Women at risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are often poor and members of racial or ethnic minorities. In addition to legal concerns that might be common among persons with similar sociodemographic characteristics, HIV infection adds the potential of possible stigma and discrimination, as well as the prospect of illness and increased mortality. To determine women's perceptions of need for and access to legal services and whether such perceptions are affected by HIV infection, from November 1993 through September 1995 we interviewed 509 women with or at risk for HIV infection by virtue of injection drug use or high-risk sexual behaviors in New York and Baltimore, Maryland. A majority of women, regardless of HIV serostatus, reported current or future needs for legal assistance with government benefits. More than 25% reported needing current or future legal help with housing, debts, arrangements for care of children, a will, and advance directives. Substantial minorities of women reported other legal needs. HIV-positive women were significantly more likely to report anticipated future need for help with paternal custody or visitation, current need in making a will, and anticipated future assistance with advance directives. For most items, a majority of women thought they knew where to receive help. However, among women reporting a current need, only a minority actually were receiving legal assistance. This study suggests that the extent of legal needs among women with or at risk for HIV infection is substantial, and that few receive legal assistance. With few exceptions, at least for women early in the course of illness, HIV infection does not appear to alter the pattern or extent of legal needs. There are dramatic differences, regardless of HIV status, between expectation and reality in women's access to legal services.
Demography; Drug Users; Knowledge; Legal; Women
There is re-emerging interest in community health workers (CHWs) as part of wider policies regarding task-shifting within human resources for health. This paper examines the history of CHW programmes established in South Africa in the later apartheid years (1970s–1994) – a time of innovative initiatives. After 1994, the new democratic government embraced primary healthcare (PHC), however CHW initiatives were not included in their health plan and most of these programmes subsequently collapsed. Since then a wide array of disease-focused CHW projects have emerged, particularly within HIV care.
Thirteen oral history interviews and eight witness seminars were conducted in South Africa in April 2008 with founders and CHWs from these earlier programmes. These data were triangulated with written primary sources and analysed using thematic content analysis. The study suggests that 1970s–1990s CHW programmes were seen as innovative, responsive, comprehensive and empowering for staff and communities, a focus which respondents felt was lost within current programmes. The growth of these earlier projects was underpinned by the struggle against apartheid. Respondents felt that the more technical focus of current CHW programmes under-utilise a valuable human resource which previously had a much wider social and health impact. These prior experiences and lessons learned could usefully inform policy-making frameworks for CHWs in South Africa today.
Community health workers; Community health worker (CHW) policy; South Africa; Oral history; Apartheid; Task-shifting; Community participation
“One Man Can” (OMC) is a rights-based gender equality and health program implemented by Sonke Gender Justice Network (Sonke) in South Africa. The program seeks to reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS and reduce violence against women and men. To understand how OMC workshops impact masculinities, gender norms, and perceptions of women’s rights, an academic/non-governmental organization (NGO) partnership was carried out with the University of Cape Town, the University of California at San Francisco, and Sonke. Sixty qualitative, in-depth interviews were carried out with men who had completed OMC workshops and who were recruited from Sonke’s partner organizations that were focused on gender and/or health-related services. Men were recruited who were over age 18 and who participated in OMC workshops in Limpopo and Eastern Cape Provinces, South Africa. Results reveal how men reconfigured notions of hegemonic masculinity both in terms of beliefs and practices in relationships, households, and in terms of women’s rights. In the conclusions, we consider the ways in which the OMC program extends public health research focused on masculinities, violence, and HIV/AIDS. We then critically assess the ways in which health researchers and practitioners can bolster men’s engagement within programs focused on gender equality and health.
masculinities; gender relations; women’s rights; South Africa; HIV prevention; violence
There is a critical need to deliver empirically validated interventions to underserved populations. Haiti, the country most heavily affected by the AIDS epidemic in the Caribbean, accounts for approximately 50% of all cases in the region. Poverty, disparities in access to healthcare, and socio-political instability are among, the reasons why the country has been ravaged by the disease. Ongoing projects in Haiti have shown that integrated prevention and care in resource poor settings are feasible and can he successful, as evidenced by a 50% drop in incidence among pregnant women since 1993. The AIDS prevention program has embarked on a comprehensive effort to culturally adapt a cognitive-behavioral stress management program for Haitian HIV+ individuals. The purpose of the program is to improve adherence to antiretroviral medication, reduce transmission to uninfected partners, and improve coping. This comprehensive approach is necessary to ensure the validity of the cross-cultural adaptation of this intervention.
Haiti; HIV; Cultural adaptation; CBSM; Adherence
In Bangladesh, particularly in urban slums, married adolescent women’s human rights to life, health, and reproductive and sexual health remain adversely affected because of the structural inequalities and political economic, social and cultural conditions which shape how rights are understood, negotiated and lived.
The focus of the research and methods was anthropological. An initial survey of 153 married adolescent women was carried out and from this group, 50 in-depth interviews were conducted with selected participants and, from the in-depth interviews, a further eight case studies of women and their families were selected for in-depth repeated interviews and case histories.
This paper speaks of the unanticipated complexities when writing on reproductive rights for poor adolescent women living in the slums, where the discourses on ‘universal human rights’ are often removed from the reality of adolescent women’s everyday lives. Married adolescent women and their families remain extremely vulnerable in the unpredictable, crime-prone and insecure urban slum landscape because of their age, gender and poverty. Adolescent women’s understanding of their rights such as the decision to marry early, have children, terminate pregnancies and engage in risky sexual behaviour, are different from the widely accepted discourse on rights globally, which assumes a particular kind of individual thinking and discourse on rights and a certain autonomy women have over their bodies and their lives. This does not necessarily exist in urban slum populations.
The lived experiences and decisions made pertaining to sexual and reproductive health and ‘rights’ exercised by married adolescent women, their families and slum communities, allow us to reflect on the disconnect between the international legal human rights frameworks as applied to sexual and reproductive health rights, and how these are played out on the ground. These notions are far more complex in environments where married adolescent women and their families live in conditions of poverty and socioeconomic deprivation.
The need to scale up treatment for HIV/AIDS has led to a revival in community health workers to help alleviate the health human resource crisis in sub-Saharan Africa. Community health workers have been employed in Mozambique since the 1970s, performing disparate and fragmented activities, with mixed results.
A participant-observer description of the evolution of community health worker support to the health services in Angónia district, Mozambique.
An integrated community health team approach, established jointly by the Ministry of Health and Médecins Sans Frontières in 2007, has improved accountability, relevance, and geographical access for basic health services.
The community health team has several advantages over 'disease-specific' community health worker approaches in terms of accountability, acceptability, and expanded access to care.
Since the start of the HIV epidemic we have witnessed significant advances in our understanding of the impact of HIV disease worldwide. Further, breakthroughs in treatment and the rapid expansion of HIV care and treatment programs in heavily impacted countries over the past five years are potentially critical assets in a comprehensive approach to controlling the continued spread of HIV globally. A strategic approach to controlling the epidemic requires continued and comparable expansion and integration of care, treatment, and prevention programs. As every new infection involves transmission, whether vertically or horizontally, from a person already living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), integration of HIV prevention into HIV care settings has the potential to prevent thousands of new infections, as well as improve the lives of PLWHAs. In this paper, we highlight how to better utilize opportunities created by the antiretroviral (ARV) roll-out to achieve more effective prevention, particularly in Sub Saharan Africa. We offer specific recommendations for action in the domains of healthcare policy and practice in order to better utilize the advances in HIV treatment to advance HIV prevention.
integration of HIV prevention and HIV care; people living with HIV/AIDS; healthcare policy; healthcare practice
There is growing interest in the ways in which legal and human rights issues related to sex work affect sex workers’ vulnerability to HIV and abuses including human trafficking and sexual exploitation. International agencies, such as UNAIDS, have called for decriminalisation of sex work because the delivery of sexual and reproductive health services is affected by criminalisation and social exclusion as experienced by sex workers. The paper reflects on the connections in various actors’ framings between sex workers sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and the ways that international law is interpreted in policing and regulatory practices.
The literature review that informs this paper was carried out by the authors in the course of their work within the Paulo Longo Research Initiative. The review covered academic and grey literature such as resources generated by sex worker rights activists, UN policy positions and print and online media. The argument in this paper has been developed reflectively through long term involvement with key actors in the field of sex workers’ rights.
International legislation characterises sex work in various ways which do not always accord with moves toward decriminalisation. Law, policy and regulation at national level and law enforcement vary between settings. The demands of sex worker rights activists do relate to sexual and reproductive health but they place greater emphasis on efforts to remove the structural barriers that limit sex workers’ ability to participate in society on an equal footing with other citizens.
Discussion and conclusion
There is a tension between those who wish to uphold the rights of sex workers in order to reduce vulnerability to ill-health and those who insist that sex work is itself a violation of rights. This is reflected in contemporary narratives about sex workers’ rights and the ways in which different actors interpret human rights law. The creation of regulatory frameworks around sex work that support health, safety and freedom from abuse requires a better understanding of the broad scope of laws, policies and enforcement practices in different cultural contexts and economic settings, alongside reviews of UN policies and human rights conventions.
The study of pregnancy and motherhood in women living with HIV (WLWH) has concentrated on the health of the unborn baby and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, whereas consideration of the broader aspects of women's reproductive health has been largely overlooked. The rights of WLWH with respect to their reproductive health should be exactly the same as non-HIV-positive women, however, inequalities exist due to discrimination and also because the treatment guidelines used in the care of women are often based on insufficient evidence. The purpose of this article is to review the available literature on reproductive health issues for WLWH and to identify gaps requiring further investigation. Our review indicates that further research is warranted into a number of aspects of reproductive health among WLWH. Currently, access to the relevant reproductive health resources and services, such as advice on contraception and fertility services, for WLWH is far from optimal in many developed countries and most developing countries. More data are needed on the most appropriate family planning options with the consideration of drug interactions between contraceptives and antiretroviral therapy and the risk of HIV transmission. Also, more research is needed to improve understanding of the maternal health challenges facing WLWH. Similarly, our understanding of the impact of HIV on the physical and emotional health of pregnant women and new mothers is far from complete. Answering these questions and countering these inequalities will help to ensure the reproductive health and child-bearing intentions of WLWH become an integral part of HIV medicine.
reproduction; women; HIV; pregnancy; conception
The new prevalence data regarding the estimated global number of human immunodeficiency virus positive (HIV+) cases, i.e., including people who are either aware or unaware of their HIV infection in 2010, lead many to wonder why the increase in incidence has reached today’s unprecedented level and escalated within such a short time. This, in spite of prevention campaigns in countries affected by HIV/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) with their urgent messages aimed at preventing HIV transmission by promoting changes in individual’s behavior. This article analyzes the background of the prevention strategies, in particular their political, social and legal concepts in terms of human rights, and reveals traits of human behavior not considered thus far. A radical reappraisal is necessary, at social and legislative levels, as well as options additional to current concepts. When ethical issues come up, they become blamed for outmoded moralistic positions. However, ignoring the reality has led to dire consequences from prioritizing individual human rights over society’s collective need to prevent the spread of HIV.
HIV; Prevention; Human rights; Fundamental rights; Jurisdiction; Decriminalization
Background and objectives:
Tribal men's reluctance in sharing responsibilities as supportive partners in reproductive and sexual health matters debar women from their sexual rights coupled with their negligence in health care and lesser utilization of reproductive health facilities. As a matter of fact a large proportion of ill health particularly related to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) suffered not only by men but also by their spouses. The present study was planned among one of the primitive tribes of Madhya Pradesh to understand the knowledge of males about reproductive tract infection (RTI)/STI/HIV/AIDS, RTI symptoms suffered, perception on sexual health, utilization of health services and to improve the knowledge by intervention of need based IEC (information, education, communication) strategy.
The study was conducted among 400 currently married men in the age group of 15-40 yr in one of the primitive tribes, Baigas of Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh. Eighteen villages were explored in the study. The IEC intervention was made by using quasi-experimental before and after with control design.
The baseline data generated indicated that Baigas male were poorly informed about RTI (18%), STI (21.5%) and HIV/AIDS (10%). Further, men also projected misconception on different aspects of sexuality. Women's views recorded also suggested a disturbing trend regarding male involvement in reproductive health particularly related to STIs.
Interpretation & conclusions:
After intervention of IEC targeting male population in age group 15 - 40 yr by adopting a before and after with controls design the awareness was improved significantly. The utilization of the health services was also improved significantly. The study recommends replication of the IEC strategy designed in other Baiga villages for improving the reproductive health of the tribe.
Baiga tribe; currently married males; HIV/AIDS; IEC intervention; reproductive tract infections; sexual morbidities; STI
HIV/AIDS stigma is a common thread in the narratives of pregnant women affected by HIV/AIDS globally and may be associated with refusal of HIV testing. We conducted a cross-sectional study of women attending antenatal clinics in Kenya (N = 1525). Women completed an interview with measures of HIV/AIDS stigma and subsequently information on their acceptance of HIV testing was obtained from medical records. Associations of stigma measures with HIV testing refusal were examined using multivariate logistic regression. Rates of anticipated HIV/AIDS stigma were high—32% anticipated break-up of their relationship, and 45% anticipated losing their friends. Women who anticipated male partner stigma were more than twice as likely to refuse HIV testing, after adjusting for other individual-level predictors (OR = 2.10, 95% CI: 1.15–3.85). This study demonstrated quantitatively that anticipations of HIV/AIDS stigma can be barriers to acceptance of HIV testing by pregnant women and highlights the need to develop interventions that address pregnant women’s fears of HIV/AIDS stigma and violence from male partners.
HIV/AIDS; Stigma; Pregnancy; Kenya; Intimate partner violence
Within the literature of the Enlightenment there are voices that called for the emancipation of women,1 and so began a—still unfinished—struggle for equality at home and in society. The campaign for women to enter the professions started in the 19th century.2 Women who wished to qualify and work as doctors faced what must have seemed to those of lesser courage and ability, to be insurmountable resistance. The early women doctors of the 19th century who were forced to obtain their training on the continent—in Zurich, Bern, and Paris—were part of a political movement and transatlantic network concerned with issues of women's rights, universal suffrage, women's health and public health measures.23456 These women who “stormed the citadel” wanted to, and did, change society as well as medicine. Opposition to women's entry into medicine was led by doctors who defended the male monopoly against the threat to their prestige and purse. They argued that a woman's place was in the home as a wife and mother. Women's bodies, intellect, and temperament were not up to the demands of studying medicine, let alone practising as doctors.345 These arguments did not stop, but echoed down the 20th century long after women had gained the right to qualify in medicine.
history of paediatrics; medical history; women doctors; women paediatricians