Gender and disclosure of HIV positive status to sexual partners –The struggle of rural women in Sekhukhune district, Limpopo Province, South Africa

16 Nov 2015

Disclosure of HIV-positive status is a challenge to rural women for fear of stigma and rejection by the male partner. The purpose of this study was to describe the disclosure of HIV positive status to sexual partners by rural men and women. A qualitative phenomenological research design was used. Purposive sampling was used to select fifteen participants for the study. Semi-structured one to one interviews were used to collect data. The study revealed that rural women were fearful to disclose their HIV positive status as this may lead to losing their sexual partners. Two major themes emerged from the study: rejection versus acceptance of the sexual partner related to disclosure of HIV status and precipitating factors towards HIV infection transmission. The study recommends the formation of support groups to minimize the devastating impact of HIV disclosure and the implemention of necessary coping strategies.