Youth's experiences in disclosing their HIV positive status in Malawi.
Chirwa, Mercy Dokiso.
MetadataShow full item record
Introduction Youth is a group of people which has been greatly affected by HIV epidemic in Malawi. They are vulnerable to HIV infection because they are at a stage where they are beginning sexual exploration. Youth therefore, need a lot of information and support on HIV preventions, and voluntary counseling and testing. They should be encouraged and assisted to disclose their HIV status whether positive or negative for them to access necessary support system. Purpose: The purpose of the study was to explore youth's experiences in disclosing their HIV positive status Methodology: This is an exploratory study that adopted a qualitative approach utilizing the phenomenological design to explore the experiences of HIV positive participants in disclosing their HIV positive status. The study was conducted in Likuni urban and Nambuma areas in Lilongwe district, Malawi. Ten HIV positive participants five males and five females between the ages 19-25 years were purposively sampled half from each area. A qualitative approach to data collection was done through face to face individual in-depth interviews. All the interviews were audio taped and transcribed verbatim using qualitative content analysis. Findings: The following are the four major themes that emerged from the findings of the study: factors leading to and hindering HIV positive status disclosure, disclosure of HIV status, experiences of disclosing HIV positive status, consequences of HIV positive status disclosure. These themes are in line with the objectives and the conceptual framework of the study. The findings of the study have shown that disclosure of HIV positive status among HIV positive youth is difficult and still remains a challenge. The study established that the majority of participants disclosed their HIV positive status due to their deteriorating health status. Stigma and discrimination was found to be the major barrier to HIV positive status while the positive consequences which include: psychosocial care, accessing medical services, safer sex practices and positive living with HIV seemed to be more rewarding because it brought some relief in their lives. Conclusion: Stigma and other hindering factors were found to be the major barriers to disclosure. This therefore, necessitates the need for dealing with barriers to disclosure because the benefits of disclosing HIV positive status are rewarding and outweighs the negative consequences. This study has made some recommendations to promote disclosure of HIV positive status among youth through Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, National Youth Council, National AIDS Commissions, the Community and further research.