HIV Status Disclosure among People Living with HIV/Aids in the Tano North District

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Despite the numerous benefits of HIV- positive status disclosure, studies have shown that the rates of disclosure among developing world are notably lower ranging from 16.7% to 86% compared to rates reported from the developed world (42% to 100%) (WHO, 2004). This research was a cross sectional study designed to determine the proportion of people living with HIV/AIDS who have disclosed their HIV-positive status to their sexual partners/family members and the reasons for non-disclosure in the Tano North District. Systematic random sampling method was used to draw 228 PLWHA for the study. The data collection tool was a structured questionnaire. Cross tabulations were done to determine the relationship between specific outcome variables and their predictors of disclosure. Chi-square tests were calculated and p-values of less than 0.05 were accepted as being statistical significant for all associations. The findings revealed that the proportion of HIV positive status disclosure to sexual partner(s)/family members was between 49.9% to 51.9%. Almost half (49.1%), of all persons interviewed during the study who had tested positive for HIV failed to disclose their HIV status. The major reasons for non-disclosure were: fear of rejection/discrimination/stigmatization (54.5%), fear of accusation of being unfaithful by partners (33.0%), fear of withdrawal of support (32.1%), minor reasons for non-disclosure were; denial (8.3%) and difficulty in initiating the process of disclosure (6.1%). The socio-demographic factors that were found to be independently associated with HIV positive status disclosure to sexual partner(s)/family members were monthly income (p<0.006), knowledge of HIV status of partner/family member (p<0.000), number of sexual partners (p<0.023), and place of diagnosis (p<0.000). That is, PLWHA who were diagnosed at the VCT center were more likely to disclose their HIV positive status. The study recommends that a community based programme should be designed to educate the general population on the importance of HIV positive status disclosure and attempt to reduce the barriers of HIV positive status disclosure and Couple counselling.
A dissertation submitted to the School Of Graduate Studies, (KNUST), in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of MPH (Population and Reproductive Health, 2014