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<b>Fear of disclosure among women living with HIV and AIDS: The case of Mankweng area, Limpopo Province</b>

ML Malatji
JC Makhubele
MDM Makofane


For women who do get tested for HIV and receive a positive diagnosis, the decision of whether or not to disclose their status to partners or other family members, including children, is hard to make. Decisions around disclosure are multiple: who to tell (family, friends, children, colleagues, teachers, the Church), when to tell, and how to tell. This article explores factors which yield fear of disclosure among women living with HIV and AIDS (WLWHA) around Mankweng area in Limpopo Province. The explorative-descriptive research design was used for the purpose of this study. A purposive sampling technique was utilized to select WLWHA in Mankweng and surrounding villages to participate in six focus group interviews. Qualitative data were collected and analysed. The results indicated that WLWHA face social challenges based on other people and society’s reactions and perceptions towards the HIV and AIDS disease. In this regard they conceal information about their HIV positive status. Disclosure was found to be a difficult decision for most women because it is followed by major life changing consequences. HIV and AIDS programmes and campaigns should aggressively address factors which yield fear for disclosure and consider the cultural context in which human interactions as well as sexually transmitted infections occur.

Keywords: Fear, disclosure, HIV and AIDS, woman.