|Type||Thesis or Dissertation - Master of Philosophy|
|Title||Reasons for low male participation in HIV and AIDS support groups: a focus on Mahalapye sub district, Botswana|
Aim: Male involvement in HIV Support groups has been noted to be low (Heyer et al, 2008;
Maboshe, 2008; Russel & Schneider, 2000). The aim of the study was to explore factors
affecting the participation of males in HIV support groups and examine their perceptions and
understanding of the benefits of participating in HIV support groups. The study also set out to
explore the reasons of low male participation in HIV and AIDS support groups. The study was
conducted in Mahalapye, Botswana.
Methodology: An exploratory qualitative approach was adopted to generate data. This method
was chosen for it suitability in formulating more precise questions for further research. A total
of three focus groups with six to ten participants were conducted with HIV positive men above
the age of 21. Participants were selected from Mahalapye West Airstrip Clinic using the
purposive sampling procedure. Data was analyzed using the general inductive approach which is
used for analyzing qualitative data where the analysis is guided by specific objectives. Themes
were created from actual phrases used in specific text segments.
Results: The findings revealed that there is a some lack of knowledge about the existence of
support groups for PLWHA. Those that are aware have both positive and negative feelings
about them. Support groups were perceived to be helpful, a platform for PLWHA to vent and
share their experiences and a source of knowledge about treatment and healthy lifestyles.
Reasons cited for low participation are: mixed gender groups which compromise the men’s
comfort levels and ability to fully express themselves; lack of confidentiality; accessibility of
venue; work schedule; fear of stigma and discrimination: fear of disclosure; inconvenient times
of support groups.
Recommendations: Gender considerations to be incorporated in strategic frameworks for
tackling HIV and AIDS, increase awareness of HIV and AIDS support groups for PLWHA,
educate communities about the negatives effects of stigmatizing and discriminating against
PLWHA and conduct more research about the effects that support groups have on PLWHA in
an effort to support and emphasize their importance. This could potentially increase the number
of males that attend them
|»||Botswana - AIDS Impact Survey III 2008|