MPhil study projects

The utilisation of HIV/Aids services among men in Harry Gwala district, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Student: Ntobeko Zondi

Country: South Africa

Despite South Africa’s notable progress in HIV testing and antiretroviral therapy (ART) roll-out, usage of HIV/Aids testing services (HTS) remained problematic, especially for men.

This qualitative study, conducted in KwaLoliwe, Ubuhlebezwe, Ixopo, South Africa, employed in-depth interviews with 15 men aged 18 to 49. Interviews were conducted in isiZulu to facilitate understanding and extract comprehensive information.

Thematic analysis revealed that men were aware of HIV/Aids and HTS but faced barriers to accessing services, including fear of stigmatisation, discrimination and the stress of potential positive results. Negative perceptions of staff attitudes in primary healthcare (PHC) settings also deterred men from seeking HTS.

The study found that men typically avoid HTS unless symptomatic due to fear of judgement and embarrassment. Long queues at PHC facilities contributed to their reluctance to seek testing.

These findings underscored the need for targeted interventions to address access barriers and promote regular HIV testing among men in South Africa.