The role of community leaders in the effective implementation of oral pre-exposure prophylaxis in Vulindlela, KwaZulu-Natal.
Fadane, Noluthando Precious Nomalungisa.
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Oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a great stride in the HIV prevention field, particularly for the vulnerable populations including adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) aged 15-24 years who are the hardest hit group with high HIV infection rates due to structural and cultural factors. This study sought to investigate the role that community leaders, as key opinion leaders and gatekeepers, play in the effective implementation of oral PrEP. The SEMCHB was used as the theoretical framework that underpinned the study, further exploring Health Belief Model at individual level of the SEMCHB and CCA at community level of the framework. Purposive sampling was used to select the study participants. A total of 10 participants, 6 councillors and 4 traditional leaders in Vulindlela were sampled and interviewed through the use of in-depth interviews. The data collected through the interviews was analysed thematically, identifying key themes that emerged from the research. The main findings were around the knowledge of oral PrEP in the community, the perceived benefits and barriers of oral PrEP, and the extent to which community leaders were willing to support and promote the implementation of oral PrEP for young women in the community. These findings support the need to empower community leaders with knowledge about oral PrEP so they can play an effective role in the implementation of oral PrEP.