Knowledge and attitudes about HIV infection and prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV in an urban, low income community in Durban, South Africa: Perspectives of residents and health care volunteers
Background: HIV prevalence is high among South African women of reproductive age and transmission of HIV from mothers to children is a concern. This study ascertained the level of knowledge about HIV infection and prevention, particularly prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) amongst South African women from a low income community. It also established the challenges in delivering HIV education from the perspectives of health care volunteers.
Method: Female residents (n ¼ 67) from Kenneth Gardens, a low income community in Durban, South Africa were interviewed. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 12 health care volunteers who were either health care workers or residents who provided some form of social support in the community.
Results: The majority of respondents indicatedthatamothercouldtransmitHIVtoher childbut wereunable to specify how. Many women had general HIV/AIDS knowledge but were unable to identify essential prevention behaviours and were not very receptive to more information on HIV/AIDS. Theywere supportive of routine testing procedures and child bearing amongst HIV positive women. Health care volunteers indicated a need for a community clinic in the area. They also had limited knowledge of PMTCT and indicated that there was a need for more education on HIV, particularly to encourage the youth andmen to use preventativemeasures.
Conclusion: Innovative ways to impart knowledge particularly of PMTCT and updated standards of practice are essential. It is important that the community understands how transmission occurs so that prevention can follow.