IFGH 2010: Understanding the concept of HIV risk in Western Province of Zambia: A study in Mongu, Senanga and Kaoma Districts

Category:
November 30, 2010

Issues: Despite a trend of lowering national HIV prevalence in Zambia, HIV levels in Western Province have continued to rise. Concern Worldwide Zambia ́s efforts in the response are concentrated here. Cultural and sexual practices have been implicated in the spread of HIV in Western Province but they have not been well documented.

Description: A qualitative exploratory study to determine the association between HIV knowledge, risk perception and behaviour was conducted. Adult participants of different age groups and positions within the community were recruited from villages within the three districts.

Lessons learned: Cultural and social factors including gender inequality and a lack of infrastructure emerged as important themes. The decision to engage in risky behaviour facilitating transmission of HIV within Western Province is multifaceted. The findings reveal that while only a few traditional practices are carried that could lead to HIV infectivity, culturally accepted norms such as multiple sexual partnerships, poor condom negotiation, acute shortage of antiretroviral services, and a lack of communication between non‐governmental organizations, the church and local government were more influential underlying factors.

Next steps: This research has recommended strategies to help mitigate conditions that facilitate risky HIV practices and present barriers to behaviour change in Western Province.

 

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