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Bull Pan Am Health Organ. 1993;27(3):234-43.

AIDS-related knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and practices in Haiti.

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1
Center for AIDS Studies, Montreal General Hospital, Canada.

Abstract

AIDS constitutes an important public health problem in Haiti, where it appears to be spread mainly through heterosexual encounters. The study reported here employed in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and a national cross-sectional survey of 1,300 men and 1,300 women 15 to 49 years old to assess AIDS-related knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and practices in Haiti. According to criteria established for the study, 38.1% of the 1,118 sexually active male survey respondents were found to engage in high-risk behavior. In general, the women were found to have better knowledge of AIDS than the men. Significant obstacles to condom use included the inability of women to choose whether condoms would be used and a belief that condom lubricant could cause health problems. The study also found a tendency to ostracize people with AIDS, especially in areas outside Port-au-Prince, and a belief that AIDS was imposed on people by fate--which could partially explain the tendency to persist in high-risk behavior.

PIP:

AIDS constitutes a major health problem in Haiti which continues to grow through what seems to be mainly heterosexual relations. Over 1989-90, 8.9% of 1720 pregnant women attending a prenatal clinic in a suburban slum were identified as HIV-seropositive. Among initial blood donors in 1990, 5.8% of 1199 males and 1.9% of 15 female donors were seropositive for HIV. In-depth interviews, focus groups, and a national cross-sectional survey of 1300 men and 1300 women aged 15-49 years were conducted in an effort to assess participants' AIDS-related knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and practices. 38.1% of the 1118 sexually active male survey respondents engaged in high-risk behavior. Men were considered to be at high risk for infection/transmission if they had ever visited a prostitute or had more than 1 sex partner in the month preceding the interview. Most in Haiti have heard of AIDS, but many misconceptions remain about how HIV is transmitted. Women did, however, tend to better informed than men. Even though the women may be comparatively better informed about HIV transmission, their lack of ability to negotiate condom use still impedes the more widespread use of condoms. The belief that condom lubricant may cause health problems also impedes condom use. Finally, the study found a tendency to ostracize people with AIDS, especially outside of Port-au-Prince, and the belief that individuals acquire AIDS deterministically according to fate. A coordinated national effort is needed to correct these misconceptions and increase the prevalence of condom usage.

PMID:
8220518
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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