HIV/AIDS status disclosures at family level perceptions and dilemmas: the case study of Musena Mpongo Village in Binga

Author: Mwinde, Never

The purpose of this study was to investigate the perception of people of Musenampongo community in Binga district towards HIV/AIDS status disclosure in the family context in order to have a deeper understanding of dilemmas that surround the disease. The study further examines advantages and challenges people encounter due to HIV/AIDS status disclosure. There are several benefits people derived directly or indirectly from opting to disclose though this is not always the case. The study used qualitative methodology owing to the subjective nature of the HIV/AIDS disclosure issues. Data was collected from general public of Musenampongo comprising parents aged (18-49) and youths aged (18-34) both in the productive age category using the in-depth interviews and focus group discussions as research tools. The convenience and purposive sampling techniques were used due to qualitative nature of the study. The general findings of the study were that there were several reasons which drove people to disclosure or shun disclosing. The reasons are many and varied as reflected in the 9 thematic areas which emerged during field work guided by the research objectives. In some instances disclosure or non-disclosure options created conflicts in the family due to cultural norms and values or religious influences in the Tonga community over disclosure. There were people who were for disclosure and those against it while others were not decided on what to do. In some circumstances, none disclosure was noted to be better than disclosing at all. From a gender perspective, females were found to be more willing to disclose than their male counterparts. Some of the major recommendations the study makes are that HIV/AIDS disclosure as one of the most important strategies of combating HIV/AIDS. It should however not be generalized but to consider individual family circumstances than use a one size fit all approach. It was also noted that if not controlled, HIV/Aids has a negative impact on development due to its social, economic and political implications on community members.