The health seeking behaviour of female sex workers for HIV prevention services in Kawempe Division, Kampala District
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The study set to investigate the health seeking behaviour of female sex workers (FSWs) for HIV prevention services, in Kawempe Division, Kampala. Although progress has been reported in FSWs’ protective sexual behaviour, other reports continue to suggest that it is still hampered by several factors at different levels. To fill this gap, the study was guided by three objectives, namely: (i) to assess the individual factors that influence the health seeking behaviour for HIV prevention services, (ii) to describe the service delivery factors that influence the health seeking behaviour of female sex workers for HIV prevention services, (iii) to explore the community factors that influence the health seeking behaviour of female sex workers for HIV prevention services. This study employed a phenomenological study design. This design allowed the collection of qualitative data through in-depth Interviews and Key Informant Interviews. Purposive and Snow-ball sampling techniques were used to select a sample of twenty participants who were arrived at through a point of satiety. Data were analyzed using data explicitation five stage process as suggested by Hycner to be appropriate for analysis of phenomenological data. Study findings revealed that a number of factors at different levels influenced the health seeking behaviour of FSWs in Kawempe Division. At the individual level, age, experience, fear of HIV, and self-efficacy motivated FSWs to utilize particular HIV prevention services; marital status and level of education were inconsequential, while previous experiences with HIV prevention strategies negatively influenced FSWs’ health seeking behaviour. At the institutional level, convenience, type of health facility, and the nature of approaches employed by different health facilities were major motivators to positive health seeking behavior of FSWs. At the community level, local leadership was key to positive health care seeking behaviour among FSWs. Stigmatization was reported to be high in Kawempe Division, but had not impacted on FSWs health seeking behaviour. However, at the community level, the role of family members in supporting FSWs’ health seeking was also reported to be inadequate. One of the salient recommendations to the government of Uganda is to scale up HIV prevention services targeting FSWs in other districts and health facilities. Social Workers should focus on expanding the role of the family in the HIV prevention efforts of FSWs. Future researchers should expound their inquiry into the cultural interpretations of different HIV prevention services among FSWs.