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Trop Doct. 2006 Apr;36(2):87-9.

Rate, pattern and barriers of HIV serostatus disclosure in a resource-limited setting in the Niger delta of Nigeria.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, P.M.B. 6173 Port Harcourt, Nigeria.


The disclosure of HIV serostatus is a difficult emotional task creating opportunity for both support and rejection. In this study, we evaluated the rate, patterns and barriers to HIV serostatus disclosure. A pre-tested interviewer-administered questionnaire from 187 HIV infected people residing in a resource-limited setting in the Niger Delta of Nigeria was analysed. Of the 187 HIV seropositive patients studied, 144 (77.0%) had disclosed their HIV-serostatus while 43 (23.0%) had not. Results showed that the patients had disclosed their HIV-serostatus to: parents (22.3%), siblings (9.7%), pastors (27.8%), friends (6.3%), family members (10.4%) and sexual partners (23.6%) (P = 0.004). Females were more likely (59.7%) to disclose their HIV serostatus compared with males (40.3%) (P = 0.003). Mothers were twice as likely (65.6%) to be confided in compared with fathers. Barriers to HIV serostatus disclosure included fear of stigmatization, victimization, fear of confidants spreading the news of their serostatus and fear of accusation of infidelity and abandonment (P = 0.002). Married respondents were more likely to disclose their status. Better-educated respondents with tertiary education were more likely to disclose their HIV-serostatus. Expectation of economic, spiritual, emotional and social support was the major reason for disclosure. The ratio of disclosure to non-disclosure among patients with non-formal education was (2.6:1.0), primary education (2.3:1.0), secondary education (3.3:1.0) and tertiary education (10.0:1.0). Disclosure of HIV serostatus can foster economic social and economic support. There is need for the re-intensification of interventional measure that combines provider, patients and community education particularly in the aspect of anti-stigma campaign, partner notification and skill building to facilitate appropriate HIV serostatus disclosure.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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