Using Verbal and Social Autopsies to Explore Health-Seeking Behaviour among HIV-Positive Women in Kenya: A Retrospective Study

Rebecca Njuki, Population Council
James Kimani, Population Council
Timothy Abuya, Population Council

Background: Little emphasis has been put on the need to understand the factors that influence decisions on access to HIV care and treatment in the community settings. Study aim was to explore the socio-cultural and health system factors affecting health-seeking behaviour among women living with HIV (WLHIV) in resource-constrained settings. Methods: Retrospective data were drawn from verbal/social autopsies administered to caregivers of 218 women (aged 15-49 years) who had died of AIDS-related illnesses. Data were collected on essential elements of the care-seeking process and analyzed using qualitative/quantitative techniques. Results: Poor knowledge of the severity of illness, medical pluralism, stigma and non-disclosure of HIV status, transportation challenges, affordability of health services and poor referral systems were mentioned as factors contributing to delays/constraints in seeking care. Conclusion: Our study findings highlight important issues that have implications in addressing challenges faced by WLHIV, including non-adherence to treatment regimen and late diagnosis of HIV.

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Presented in Session 174: HIV/AIDS in the Era of ART