The perceived relevance of HIV/AIDS prevention and care programmes for reducing vulnerability in communities
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Background: The South African National Strategic Plan for HIV & AIDS and STI calls for an intensified, comprehensive, multi-sectoral, national response. Many interventions are being implemented but little is known about their perceived relevance or usefulness from a community perspective.
Aim: This study explored community and key informant's perceptions of current HIV and AIDS interventions and assessed their potential for reducing vulnerability to HIV infection in selected rural and urban communities in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Methodology: Four key informant interviews were conducted with senior staff in government and non-government HIV and AIDS interventions, and eight focus group discussions were held with community members in areas where these interventions were being implemented. The interviews and discussions explored perceptions of HIV/AIDS prevention and care programmes.
Analysis: Transcripts were transcribed, translated and analysed using thematic analysis assisted by the software package Atlas.ti.
Findings: Target groups for which the programmes are designed apparently do not understand the content of the messages. Communities have not been consulted. The community is not taken into consideration. They need to talk to ordinary folk. When a tool of prevention is designed it is done in an office, but should deal with the normal layman on the street. Strategies are not effective. They are not appealing to people on the street. They are keeping people vulnerable.
Conclusion: HIV and AIDS intervention programmes need to engage communities to ensure that the information is locally relevant and understood by the target audience. Stigma needs to be addressed before messages regarding HIV prevention and transmission are likely to be accepted.
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