Sexual behaviours among people using anti-retroviral treatment in Bugiri District
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This study entitled “sexual behaviours among people using ART” was intended to explore the relationship between the use of ART and sexual behaviours of those using ART from Bugiri Hospital in Bugiri district, eastern Uganda. It specifically sought to explore the attitudes and perceptions, assess the sexual behaviours and examine the socio-cultural factors contributing to these sexual behaviours among people on ART. Field data was collected from all the 86 respondents accessing ART from Bugiri hospital at the time of study. Data about related attitudes, perceptions, sexual behaviours and social cultural factors in relation to use of ART was collected from primary respondents. Supplementary data was collected from key informants who included ART service providers and technical programme managers of AIDS support organisations using interview guides. Focus group discussions were also conducted with participants who included PHAs on ART and Home Based Care-givers, the PHAs who were found to have been on ART for more than three years were selected and provided detailed information in sex life stories Quantitative data was analysed using the statistical package for social sciences program and has been presented in statistical descriptions; frequencies, cross tabulations to compare selected variables. While in qualitative analysis, data was categorised according to the themes and sub themes of the study, and general trends identified and described. Qualitative data has been presented along side quantitative descriptions. The study established that people using ART considered engaging in sex a normal behaviour. It was also established that ART use altered people’s thinking to the extent that HIV/AIDS was viewed as no longer a threat it used to be. Correctly, majority of the respondents believed that when you are using ART you remain infectious. It was further established that, although people had high levels of knowledge about safe sex practices, it was not translated into practice. Many were sexually active, a good number were found to be unfaithful, condom use was low, and were it was exceptional, inconsistencies in condom use were quite high. The study also established that cultural practices and beliefs, religion, social groups, inheritance, poverty, and gender power relations influenced sexual behaviours of people on ART. It is important that poverty, gender power imbalances in sexual relationships are addressed if people on ART are to translate the ART knowledge that they learn into practice. There is also need to build capacity of many ART service providers so as to provide quality ART services at all levels of health service delivery. Some of the lessons from this study can be applied to a number of situations in Uganda and beyond.