MPhil study projects

Male utilisation of HIV counselling and testing services in a Free State subdistrict

Student: Mmamakgala Sylvia Lefalatsa
Country: South Africa

At the time the study was conducted, the prevalence of HIV in South Africa’s Free State province ranked second highest at 16,7%, following that of KwaZulu-Natal at 18,4%. Between 2002 and 2014, the country’s HIV prevalence increased from 4,09 million to 5,51 million, signalling concerning trends in infection control and support for affected people. HIV counselling and testing (HCT) play a crucial role in combatting HIV/Aids by providing knowledge of one’s status, assessing the HIV stage and viral load, as well as facilitating antiretroviral therapy.

A situational analysis in Maluti-a-Phofung revealed reluctance among heterosexual men to undergo HCT, preferring to rely on their female partners’ results. Purposive sampling of 20 heterosexual men from the community work programme elucidated reasons behind this hesitancy. Despite accessible healthcare services with convenient operational hours, men expressed frustration with the slow pace of service, exacerbated by overcrowded clinics that are primarily attended by women.

These findings underscore the need to tailor healthcare services to appeal to men, recognising their influence in community dynamics. Improving men’s health awareness holds potential for fostering healthier families and communities.