Knowledge, attitude and practices of refugee mothers aged 18-49 on HIV prevention and care
Mwebaza, Ojepan Simon Peter
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Background:The HIV/AIDS pandemic remains one of the most serious global health challenges today. Although the link between HIV and migration is complex and non-linear, multiple factors heighten the HIV risk for refugee settings.Knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAPs) regarding HIV/AIDS is one of the corner stones in the fight against the disease. Women of reproductive age are more vulnerable to infection because of risky practices and situations like Sexual abuse, poverty and lack of adequate information. Yet little is known about the experience of refugee women. This study aimed at assessing the KAPs of refugee mothers in Palorinya settlement, Moyo district. Methods: A cross-sectional mixed survey employing both qualitative and quantitative methods was used,384 refugee mothers took part in the study. Key informant interviews were held with 10 health workers and one District Health officer to capture their views on refugee mother KAPs regarding HIV/AIDS. Results:Refugee mothers’ knowledge on HIV prevention and control was generally lacking.The majority (62.5%) of participants demonstrated low understanding of HIV transmission especially on PMTCT (1%).Misconceptions about routes of transmission were also observed. 74.2% of mothers had good attitude towards PLHIV and 90.4% HCT.The majority of refugee mothers were married (90.9%), but their practice of being faithful to their partners was low (8.1%). Utilization of key HIV prevention methods was low attributed to low education level (77.4%) and low social-economic status (55.4%). Conclusion:Asignificant proportion (62.5%) of refugee mothers had low knowledge and riskypractices (33.9%) even though majority (90.3%) had favorable attitudes towards HIV testing and associating with PLHIV(74.2%). The study highlighted some misconceptions on modes of transmission and risky behaviors which can be corrected by reinforcing health education and further sensitization at community and individual level.