Knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices related to HIV/AIDS among employees in the legal services industry in South Africa

OUTPUT TYPE: Conference or seminar papers
TITLE AUTHOR(S): S.Jooste, L.Simbayi, K.Zuma, N.Mbelle
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Capabilities (HSC)
Intranet: HSRC Library: shelf number 5456
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/9282

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Background: The main aim of the present study was to describe the knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices related to HIV/AIDS among employees in the legal services industry in three provinces in South Africa. Methods: A second-generation surveillance approach was used. Fieldworkers approached participants at selected companies and asked them permission to complete a questionnaire and to provide a dry blood spots (DBS) specimen for HIV testing. A total of 421 participants (lawyers, legal secretaries, and clerks) agreed to be interviewed in the survey. Results: The levels of knowledge and attitudes held by the participants were very high. Over a tenth of the participants (13.2%) had two or more sexual partners (18.3% for males and 3.9% for females), and the large majority (86.2%) had only one regular sexual partner each. More male participants (7.8%) as compared to females (0.8%) indicated that they had sex with people who were 10 years younger than themselves. Condom use was more consistent in non-regular relationships as compared to regular relationships. The majority of respondents (88.6%) reported consistent (every time) condom use with non-regular partners and over half (52%) reported consistent condom use with a regular partner. Only a third (37.5%) of respondents who had one sexual partner used a condom at last sex, as compared to over two-thirds (67.9%) having two sexual partners, while 61.1% of those having three or more sexual partners reported condom use at last sex. The majority of the participants also exhibited positive attitudes towards people living with HIV/AIDS. While the level of awareness of VCT services was also found to be high (84.5%), the large majority of the participants (71.1%) reported that they had been tested for HIV in the past. Conclusions: There is a need to promote safer sex practices especially reducing the number of sexual partners among males in the sector.