Discordance, disclosure and normative gender roles: barriers to couple testing within a community-level HIV self-testing intervention in urban Blantyre, Malawi

SOURCE: AIDS and Behavior
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2018
TITLE AUTHOR(S): M.K.Kumwenda, E.L.Corbett, J.Chikovore, M.Phiri, D.Mwale, A.T.Choko, M.Nliwasa, R.Sambakunsi, M.Taegtmeyer, T.J.Gutteberg, A.Munthali, N.Desmond
KEYWORDS: HIV/AIDS, MALAWI, SELF-TESTING
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Capabilities (HSC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 10263
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/11830

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Abstract

A community-based HIV self-testing study in Blantyre, Malawi demonstrated that not all individuals living in couples tested with their partner. We describe factors dissuading individuals in couples from self-testing with their partner. Data were drawn from qualitative study exploring consequences of HIV self-testing within couples. In-depth interviews were conducted with 33 individuals living in couples who tested alone. Participants expressed fear of dealing with HIV-discordant relationships. Failure to self-test with a partner was correlated with gender, with more men than women overtly declining or unconsciously unable to have joint HIV self-test. Men feared exposure of infidelity and were often not available at home for economic reasons. Barriers to uptake of couple HIV self-testing seemed to be shaped by gendered dichotomies of social-relationships. To help achieve the first 90% of the UNAIDS 90:90:90 goals, it is important to overcome structural barriers to realise the full potential of HIV self-testing.