|RUC2014 Blog 9: Research in Uganda reveals positive support to HIV disclosure and a need for gender-specific disclosure support strategies|
|Tuesday, 24 February 2015 09:58|
How can research contribute to helping HIV-positive women in Uganda? This article, first published by Makerere University and produced by Dr. Daniel Semakula as part of a Research Uptake Communications [RUC2014] coaching programme discusses the short and long-term outcomes of disclosure amongst clients attending an urban HIV clinic in Uganda
This blog, from Makerere University, is the ninth in this blog series*. More information about the RUC 2014 campaign can be found here.
Research explored the short and long-term outcomes of disclosure amongst clients attending an urban HIV clinic in Uganda, with heartwarming results. This reveals a strong need to promote realistic and effective HIV disclosure decision making in order to help realize the public health and personal benefits of disclosure.
Need for gender-specific strategies
Disclosure of HIV status supports risk reduction and facilitates access to prevention and care services, but can be inhibited by the fear of negative repercussions. Gender appears to influence responses to HIV disclosure, highlighting the need for gender-specific disclosure support strategies. Women reported more responses of encouragement compared to men, while men reported more preventive behaviour compared to women. Men reported increased care and support when they disclosed to fellow men compared to when women disclosed to women. There was better or no change in relationship when a women disclosed to a women than when a women disclosed to men. Of the 137 long-term outcomes elicited during disclosure, three quarters were positive followed by behavioral change and prevention, and then negative responses. Gender appears to influence responses to HIV disclosure, highlighting the need for gender-specific disclosure support strategies.
Different disclosure scenarios
A diagnosis of HIV/AIDs in the family creates a lot of gender-related challenges.
Disclosure often creates suspicion and accusations, disentangles families and sometimes leads to infringement of basic human rights. In worse cases it sometimes results in gender-based violence. The more powerful and richer gender controls power and has the potential toabuse the other. The burden of disclosing HIV has been largely placed on women since they are often the first to know. If the women are financially and socially dependent on their husbands this situation creates a feeling of longstanding fear for discrimination and denial of basic rights. Gender-specific disclosure support strategies are needed to provide assistance in circumstances like these.
Contrary to popular belief
Our compelling results suggest that when HIV positive individuals disclose their serostatus, they commonly receive positive and supportive responses. This is contrary to the popular view that recipients of disclosure news react negatively. There is therefore a strong need to promote realistic and effective HIV disclosure decisionmaking in order to help realize the public health and personal benefits of disclosure. The main media (electronic, print) need to take on this important role.