Exploring HIV/AIDS knowledge, attitudes and practices of Congolese refugees in Cape Town

Kalawu, Corneille (2015-04)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study aims to explore the existing knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding HIV/AIDS among Congolese refugees living in Cape Town in order to create awareness and suggest possible measures to avert the spread of the pandemic among them. The target population are Congolese refugees living in Cape Town, with a refugee or an asylum seeker status. Due to the total population and difficulties in contacting them, the participants (50) were randomly selected among traders and hair dressers. The study used a quantitative research design. The Desk Top Market train station in Cape Town is an open market place where most Congolese traders sell their goods to the public. The data were collected at this market area in Cape Town using a questionnaire. To avoid any possible discrimination or stigmatisation resulting from being identified as a refugee in the study, the Congolese were contacted from the market place without screening them on the basis of their status. The participants were, however, required to tick their status in a box provided on the questionnaire. Furthermore, strict confidentiality was maintained to avoid the possible stigmatisation arising from the Congolese traders’ refugee status. According to the findings Congolese refugees have knowledge about HIV/AIDS and the route of transmission. The majority knows how to protect themselves against HIV/AIDS but it seems this protection discontinue shortly after a quick trust between them and their partners. It is may be because most refugees are in need of financial protection on their arrival so they do not have any other choice than to let it go. During the process of data collection there was an opportunity to discuss with some of them protection and most of them stated that condom use is not safe as condoms breaks often. Many Congolese do not believe in male circumcision for the reduction of risk because 100% of them are circumcised and some still have contracted HIV/AIDS. Some of Congolese does believe HIV can be cured because they have seen people who were cured through prayers. The findings also indicate the level of awareness is very low in this community because they still believe they can just by looking at other individuals they can detect if someone is HIV positive or not.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie was daarop toegespits om die bestaande kennis, houdings en praktyke met betrekking tot MIV/vigs onder Kongolese vlugtelinge in Kaapstad te ondersoek ten einde bewustheid te wek en moontlike maatreëls voor te stel om te keer dat die pandemie onder hulle versprei. Die teikenpopulasie was Kongolese wat in Kaapstad woon en oor vlugteling- of asielsoekerstatus beskik. Weens die groot omvang van die ondersoekpopulasie en uitdagings om met hulle in verbinding te tree, het die navorser lukraak vyftig (50) deelnemers uit die geledere van handelaars en haarkappers gekies. Die data is met behulp van ’n vraelys by die Desk Top-mark op Kaapstad-stasie ingesamel. Die studie het van ’n kwantitatiewe navorsingsontwerp gebruik gemaak. Die Desk Top-mark by Kaapstad-stasie is ’n buitelugmark waar die meeste Kongolese handelaars hul goedere aan die publiek verkoop. Om te voorkom dat enigeen wat in die studie as ’n vlugteling geïdentifiseer word enige moontlike diskriminasie of stigma ervaar, het die navorser voor die voet onderhoude met Kongolese by die mark gevoer sonder om hulle na hul verblyfstatus uit te vra. Die deelnemers moes egter hul status op die vraelys aandui deur die toepaslike blokkie te merk. Voorts is streng vertroulikheid gehandhaaf om enige moontlike stigma vanweë die respondente se vlugtelingstatus te voorkom. Die bevindinge toon dat Kongolese vlugtelinge wél oor ’n mate van kennis van MIV/vigs en die verspreiding daarvan beskik. Die meeste respondente weet hoe om hulself teen MIV/vigs te beskerm, hoewel daardie beskerming oënskynlik gestaak word kort nadat hulle ’n vertrouensverhouding met hul bedmaats ontwikkel. Dít kan daaraan toegeskryf word dat die meeste vlugtelinge met hul aankoms in die land finansiële beskerming nodig het en dus nie anders kan as om veilige sekspraktyke te laat vaar indien hul bedmaats daarop aandring nie. Gedurende die proses van data-insameling was daar geleentheid vir gesprek met die respondente, waaruit geblyk het dat kondoomgebruik na hulle mening nie juis veilig is nie, aangesien kondome dikwels breek. Min Kongolese glo dat manlike besnydenis die gevaar van MIV/vigs verminder, aangesien hulle almal besny is, maar sommige steeds MIV/vigs opdoen. Sommige glo dat MIV/vigs genees kan word, omdat hulle getuies was van hoe mense deur gebed gesond geword het. Die bevindinge dui ook op ’n baie lae bewustheidsvlak in hierdie gemeenskap: Baie glo steeds dat ’n mens met die blote oog kan bepaal of iemand MIV-positief is of nie.

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