Exploring coping strategies and life choices made by HIV-discordant couples in long-term relationships: insights from South Africa, Tanzania and the Ukraine: full report
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Globally, HIV prevention and treatment programmes have tended to focus on individuals and HIV prevention programmes have focused mostly on HIV-negative individuals. In recent years, an increasing number of HIV prevention programmes have been established that target HIV-positive individuals to prevent them from becoming re-infected with additional HIV strains, and to prevent HIV transmission to their uninfected partners. Recent data suggest that a large proportion of new HIV infections in mature epidemics occur within discordant couples, making discordance a major contributor to the spread of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
This document reports on the findings of an exploratory study on coping strategies and life choices of long-term sero-discordant couples in South Africa, Tanzania and the Ukraine. The study was conducted by the Global Network of People Living with
HIV/AIDS (GNP+), in collaboration with the South African Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the Centre for Health Policy at the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa). Research on discordance tends to have a biomedical focus, focusing on: epidemiology and factors associated with HIV discordance; factors associated with immunity (e.g. why some individuals with repeated exposure to HIV remain uninfected); and discordant couples as target populations for vaccine trials. There is still a paucity of research on psycho-social aspects and strategies to inform the development of specific risk reduction programmes for discordant couples.