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Cult Health Sex. 2017 Sep;19(9):996-1010. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2017.1282045. Epub 2017 Feb 13.

A qualitative analysis of multi-level barriers to HIV testing among women in Lebanon.

Author information

1
a Yale School of Public Health , New Haven , USA.
2
b Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health , Beirut , Lebanon.
3
c Department of Psychiatry , New York University , New York , USA.
4
d Department of Internal Medicine , American University of Beirut , Beirut , Lebanon.

Abstract

While the number of HIV cases in the Middle East and North Africa region is low compared to other regions, recent studies show that incidence is increasing especially among high-risk populations; in particular, little is known about women and HIV in the region. Through semi-structured interviews with sexual healthcare providers and staff at non-governmental organisations, we sought to understand barriers to HIV testing among women in Lebanon. Using snowball sampling, key informants were recruited from greater Beirut (12 physicians, 9 non-governmental organisation staff). Data were analysed using a grounded theory framework. Findings identified barriers to HIV testing among women at each level of an adapted social-ecological model (i.e. social-cultural barriers, policy barriers, interpersonal healthcare provider barriers and intrapersonal barriers). Primary findings include the culture of sex as taboo; lack of sexual health education among women; fear of disclosing HIV testing and diagnosis; financial barriers linked to stigmatising insurance policies; and provider attitudes towards women. Findings can be used to inform HIV-related sexual health interventions at multiple levels for women in Lebanon and the greater region.

KEYWORDS:

HIV; HIV testing; Lebanon; barriers; stigma; women

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