Barriers to partner HIV serostatus disclosure among postnatal mothers on option b+ in Rukungiri district
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Introduction; Self-disclosure of one’s positive HIV serostatus to partners is an important step in the pathway of transmission prevention through sexual risk reduction and uptake of treatment and support services. Disclosure of HIV status may affect uptake and retention of prevention of mother to childhood transmission at all points, thus the decision to disclose is often affected by factors related to each individual, partner, and their partnership. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore barriers to HIV serostatus disclosure to partners of women utilizing EMTCT services in Rukungiri. Methodology: This exploratory qualitative study involved ten (10) participants who were purposively selected these were HIV postnatal mothers attending postnatal and EMTCT clinic. Data was collected using in-depth interviews. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic content analysis. Results: All participants were married, most of them had attended primary and seven of the participants had disclosed. In exploring barriers to partner HIV disclosure eight themes emerged; fear of loss of economic support and abandonment, fear of intimate violence and abuse, blame and infidelity, stigma, and discrimination. Strategies to mitigate the barriers of non-disclosure included male involvement in the EMTCT program, assisted disclosure by health care providers, peer support, and economic empowerment. Conclusion: The most common barriers from this study were fear of intimate partner violence and fear of loss economic support. In addition, the most proposed strategy to mitigate non-disclosure was assisted disclosure by health care providers and male involvement EMTCT program.