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Medical News

The Role of HIV Testing, Counseling and Treatment in Coping With HIV/AIDS in Uganda: A Qualitative Analysis

October 19, 2009

The current qualitative study explores the role of HIV voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) and treatment in helping HIV-positive Ugandans cope with the disease.

The researchers conducted 12 predetermined focus group discussions (FGDs), six with men and six with women. Half the men's and women's groups were receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART), and half were not. An FGD also was held with the health care providers administering ART.

"Testing for HIV was perceived as soliciting a death warrant," the authors wrote. Participants said the incentive for testing was the possibility of accessing free ART. The subjects described experiencing gender-variant stigma and depression on confirming their HIV status, and they commended the role of counseling in supporting them "to adopt positive living." Counseling reinforced treatment adherence for those receiving ART. "ART was described to reduce disease symptoms and restore physical health allowing them to resume their daily activities," according to the authors.

ART was preferred by patients over traditional herbal treatment "because it had clear dosages, expiry dates and was scientifically manufactured." Patients not receiving ART had myths and misconceptions about its side effects and effectiveness, delaying their decision to seek treatment. "Stigma and the attached concern of HIV/AIDS-related swift death is a major barrier for VCT," the researchers noted.

"Based on this study's findings, ensuring the provision of quality assured and gender conscious VCT and ART delivery services will enhance positive living and enforce compliance to ART programs," the authors concluded.

Back to other news for October 2009

Adapted from:
07.01.2009; Vol. 21; No. 7: P. 903-908; Barbara Nyanzi-Wakholi; Antonieta Medina Lara; Christine Watera; Paula Munderi; Charles Gilks; Heiner Grosskurth

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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