Article

'The man who believed he had AIDS was cured': AIDS and sexually-transmitted infection treatment-seeking behaviour in rural Mwanza, Tanzania

Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.
AIDS Care (Impact Factor: 1.6). 08/2006; 18(5):460-6. DOI: 10.1080/09540120500220367
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Most people living with AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa have had neither a biomedical diagnosis nor antiretroviral medication, leading to the question of how individuals understand and treat AIDS. This study examined general illness, sexually-transmitted infection (STI) and AIDS treatment-seeking behaviour in rural Mwanza, Tanzania. From 1999-2002, participant observation was carried out in nine villages for a total of 158 person-weeks. Treatments were pluralistic and opportunistic, usually beginning with home remedies (western or traditional), followed by visits to traditional healers (THs) and/or health facilities (HFs). THs were sometimes preferred over HFs because of familiarity, trust, accessibility, expense, payment plans, and the perceived cause, nature and severity of the illness, e.g. only THs were believed to successfully treat bewitchment. Some people, particularly young girls, delayed or avoided seeking treatment for STIs for fear of stigma. Most STIs were attributed to natural causes, but AIDS was sometimes attributed to witchcraft. Locally available biomedical care of people with AIDS-like symptoms consisted of basic treatment of opportunistic infections. Most such individuals repeatedly visited THs and HFs, but many stopped attending HFs because they came to believe they could not be cured there. Some THs claimed to cure witchcraft-induced, AIDS-like illnesses. There is an urgent need for improved biomedical services, and TH interventions could be important in future HIV/AIDS education and care.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
115 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Despite the introduction of free antiretroviral therapy (ART), the use of voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) services remains persistently low in many African countries. This study investigates how prior experience of HIV and VCT, and knowledge about HIV and ART influence VCT use in rural Tanzania. In 2006--7, VCT was offered to study participants during the fifth survey round of an HIV community cohort study that includes HIV testing for research purposes without results disclosure, and a questionnaire covering knowledge, attitudes and practices around HIV infection and HIV services. Categorical variables were created for HIV knowledge and ART knowledge, with "good" HIV and ART knowledge defined as correctly answering at least 4/6 and 5/7 questions about HIV and ART respectively. Experience of HIV was defined as knowing people living with HIV, or having died from AIDS. Logistic regression methods were used to assess how HIV and ART knowledge, and prior experiences of HIV and VCT were associated with VCT uptake, with adjustment for HIV status and socio-demographic confounders. 2,695/3,886 (69%) men and 2,708/5,575 women (49%) had "good" HIV knowledge, while 613/3,886 (16%) men and 585/5575 (10%) women had "good" ART knowledge. Misconceptions about HIV transmission were common, including through kissing (55% of women, 43% of men), or mosquito bites (42% of women, 34% of men).19% of men and 16% of women used VCT during the survey. After controlling for HIV status and socio-demographic factors, the odds of VCT use were lower among those with poor HIV knowledge (aOR:0.5; p = 0.01 for men and aOR = 0.6; p < 0.01 for women) and poor ART knowledge (aOR:0.8; p = 0.06 for men, aOR:0.8; p < 0.01 for women), and higher among those with HIV experience (aOR:1.3 for men and aOR = 1.6 for women, p < 0.01) and positive prior VCT experience (aOR:2.0 for all men and aOR = 2.0 for HIV-negative women only, p < 0.001). Two years after the introduction of free ART in this setting, misconceptions regarding HIV transmission remain rife and knowledge regarding treatment is worryingly poor, especially among women and HIV-positive people. Further HIV-related information, education and communication activities are urgently needed to improve VCT uptake in rural Tanzania.
    BMC Public Health 09/2013; 13(1):802. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-13-802 · 2.32 Impact Factor
    This article is viewable in ResearchGate's enriched format
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study's objective was to describe awareness of, access to, belief in, and utilization of the healing tea Kikombe cha babu and other alternative treatments for HIV in Tanzania. Associations with HIV testing, treatment, and prevention behaviors are also explored. A survey with questions about alternative medicine was administered to a sample in Tanzania using a stratified, multistage random selection method. Adults were interviewed face-to-face. Items concerning alternative HIV treatments addressed awareness, access, beliefs, and treatment-seeking behaviors. Questions about HIV prevention and treatment were also asked. Results showed participants indicated a high awareness of alternative treatments available in Tanzania, with 95.3% of 2313 adults having heard of these treatments. Of those, 6.0% had actually sought the treatment, and 46.8% had an acquaintance seek it. However, 81.0% indicated these treatments were not easily accessible. There is a high level of belief in the ability of these alternative treatments to cure HIV, with 44.0% of people who had heard of these treatments indicating they believe such treatments can cure HIV. Additionally, many people indicated having these alternative treatments available would result in decreased condom use (15.6%), no need to use condoms (94.9%), and no need to take antiretroviral therapy (81.7%). However, 57.4% indicated they would be more likely to get tested for HIV if alternative treatments were available. Belief in the ability of alternative treatments to cure HIV in Tanzania is high and should be further explored due to its implications for potentially sidelining HIV prevention and treatment initiatives.
    AIDS Care 07/2014; 26(12):1-5. DOI:10.1080/09540121.2014.936815 · 1.60 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Early HIV testing is critical to prevention and timely treatment. Missed opportunities for HIV diagnosis can result in unnecessary deaths at a time when access to antiretroviral treatment proves life saving. While HIV prevention and treatment research has increased, less research exists on women's experiences with HIV diagnosis, despite the fact that women are most affected. Insights from local women are critical in designing culturally meaningful interventions that thwart missed opportunities for early HIV diagnosis. The purpose of our study was to uncover steps women took to know their HIV diagnosis. Using narrative inquiry methodology informed by post-colonial feminism, we interviewed 40 HIV- positive women in Kenya. Five themes emerged related to uptake of HIV testing for women: (a) spouse's critical illness or death; (b) years of suffering from HIV-related symptoms; (c) sick children; (d) prenatal testing; and (e) personal desire to know one's HIV status. These findings centered on women experiences provide an important basis for health promotion interventions related to HIV prevention, earlier detection, and treatment.
    International Journal of Health Promotion and Education 05/2013; 51(5). DOI:10.1080/14635240.2012.750070

Full-text

Download
7 Downloads
Available from
Jul 21, 2014