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Perceptions of HIV, AIDS and tuberculosis among patients on antiretroviral therapy in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe: implications for the provision of HIV and TB care services

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The objectives of the research were to explore perceptions of HIV, AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) among individuals enrolled in antiretroviral therapy (ART) at two municipal clinics in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and to assess the implications of these perceptions on the provision of HIV and TB care services. Data were collected using the freelist technique to elicit the elements of a cultural domain as well as open-ended interviews with ART clients, conducted during June and July 2009. Participants were recruited through non-probability convenience sampling. The freelist data were analysed using multidimensional scaling and hierarchical clustering, and the interview data were analysed using the grounded theory method. The results suggest that: 1) the participants had substantial knowledge about HIV, AIDS and TB; 2) the participants’ perceptions of HIV, AIDS and TB constituted three distinct, though overlapping, cultural domains; 3) because of the availability of ART and TB treatment, a diagnosis of HIV infection or TB alone was generally perceived with hope that one would be able to live a normal life, while AIDS illness or TB/HIV coinfection were associated with notions of death and despair; and, 4) such perceptions may negatively impact the uptake of testing for HIV and TB, and thereby contribute to delayed start of the respective treatment. Health messages should build on these meanings which have the potential to either enhance or compromise available health programmes and their use by people living with HIV or TB.

Keywords: Africa; TB/HIV co-management; cultural domains; freelist technique; hierarchical clustering; multidimensional scaling; research methods

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work,Creighton University, 441a Creighton Hall, 2500 California PlazaOmaha,Nebraska,68178, United States 2: International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), 68 Boulevard St MichelParis, France 3: Health Services Department,Bulawayo City Council, PO Box 1946Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Publication date: 2012-06-01

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