Salaried mothers most unlikely to disclose HIV positive status to male partners – Kenya study

By Gatonye Gathura

Salaried women in Kenya are most unlikely to reveal their HIV positive status to male partners compared to non-earning women, says a national survey published yesterday.

The survey covering all parts of the country, apart from North Eastern, also says HIV infected mothers are also less likely to disclose their status to an unemployed partner compared to a man on the payroll.

The study published on Wednesday was led by Dr John Kinuthia, the head of research at Kenyatta National Hospital.

It also involved Kenya Medical Research Institute, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-Kenya and the University of Washington, US.

The study published in the journal BMC Public Health on Wednesday, 30th May 2018, also report more women are likely to disclose to their partners when diagnosed HIV negative than when the results are positive.

The study involved 2,522 mothers attending routine infant immunizations in 141 maternal and child health clinics in Kenya.

The study was restricted to women whose HIV status were known and had a current partner either legally married or come we sty relationship. Of the total, 420 or 17 per cent of study participants were HIV-positive.

Overall, 125 or five per cent of the 2,522 mothers included in the survey reported non-disclosure of HIV status to their partners.

This, the study says means 1 in 8 HIV-infected mothers did not disclose their status to partners which is associated with decreased uptake of Prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) services.

“We found that non-disclosure of HIV status to male partners persists as a gap to maximizing improved health outcomes for mothers, their male partners and infants,” says the study.

For each increasing year of relationship that went by for the non-telling salaried woman the study says the dimmer the chance of disclosure became.

On the other hand HIV negative mothers were less likely to disclose their status if not married, or cohabiting, were earning less than Sh 5,000 a month and if their man was violent.

HIV-infected women who did not disclose their HIV status to partners were less likely to uptake CD4 testing, to use antiretrovirals during labour or give ARVs to their infants.

Full study can be found here:

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