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HIV positive status disclosure to sexual partner among women attending ART clinic at Hawassa University Referral Hospital, SNNPR, Ethiopia

T Gari
D Habte
E Markos


Background: Disclosure of HIV positive status has key role in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS. Reports of non-disclosure and negative outcome of disclosure are common. Thus, disclosure of HIV positive status is a theme that demands investigation.
Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the magnitude and outcome of HIV positive status disclosure to sexual partner among women living with HIV/AIDS and attending Hawassa University Referral Hospital, South Nations and Nationalities Peoples Region (SNNPR) during a period of March to April 2008.
Methods: A cross sectional survey was conducted at Hawassa University  Referral Hospital. Single population proportion formula was used to determine sample size. Using a structured and pre-tested questionnaire, data on disclosure were collected through interview. After explaining purpose of the survey, data collection was continued until the required sample was obtained. Then, data were entered using EPI info version 2002 statistical package and cross checked for reliability. Using SPSS 12.1 for windows statistical package, analysis was done.
Results: Overall 85.7% of the women had disclosed their HIV positive status to sexual partner. Main barriers of disclosure reported by non-disclosed subjects were; fear of abandonment, fear of break-up in relationship and fear of stigma. More than 59% of the women with regular sexual partner faced negative partner reaction after disclosure. Compared with married women, those women who were in a cohabiting relationship were less likely to disclose their HIV status to sexual partners (AOR 0.16; 95% CI 0.04, 0.60); women who did not know HIV status of their sexual
partners were less likely to disclose their HIV positive status than their counter parts (AOR 0.02; 95% CI 0.00, 0.08) and women who had been on ART for more than one year were more likely to disclose their HIV positive status than the reference groups (AOR 8.62; 95% CI 1.35, 55.22).
Conclusion: HIV positive status disclosure to sexual partner in this study was higher than what was reported in other studies in Ethiopia, for Mettu and Gore (69%) but slightly lower than the report from Jimma (94.5%) and Addis Ababa (92%). Negative partner reaction following disclosure was higher. Effectively addressing issues of disclosure was recommended to encourage disclosure and cope with negative reactions after disclosure in People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Besides, currently existing Information Education Communication (IEC) interventions on HIV/AIDS should be strengthened, to reduce negative partner reaction following disclosure. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2010;24(1):9-14]

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