MPhil study projects

Exploring knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) against HIV among healthcare workers at Mokhotlong Hospital in Lesotho: A mixed-methods study

Student: Blaise Dilumbu Lukau

Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Lesotho grapples with the impact of the HIV/Aids epidemic, particularly affecting healthcare workers (HCWs). In Mokhotlong, where HIV prevalence was notably high at the time of study, the situation was compounded by limited healthcare infrastructure. Research on post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) practices among HCWs in this context had been lacking.

This study employed a mixed-methods approach to investigate the knowledge, attitudes and practices surrounding HIV PEP among HCWs at Mokhotlong Hospital. A cross-sectional survey involving 100 HCWs was conducted, followed by qualitative interviews with five participants.

The results showed a high level of PEP knowledge, with positive attitudes towards it. Only 48% of respondents reported previous PEP usage. Barriers to PEP access included limited availability of HIV testing services (HTS), stigma and fear of side effects. Qualitative findings highlighted challenges such as absent counsellors for HTS provision at night and on weekends, and inadequate functioning of laboratory and pharmacy departments during these times.

The recommendations included extending HTS availability, providing private wellness rooms for PEP services and staff training on PEP usage to improve access and uptake among HCWs.