HIV/AIDS Perceptions and Vulnerability of Democratic Republic of Congo’s Refugees Living in Durban, South Africa
AbstractIn South Africa, public perceptions of HIV/AIDS and people living with the virus have changed significantly but the refugees’ communities are mostly left out, creating a sense of fear and vulnerability. Using an exploratory qualitative approach, this study explores HIV/AIDS perception and vulnerability among refugees living in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. A semi-structured interview was conducted with 31 purposively sampled participants consisting of seven males and 24 females, aged 23 to 60 years. The results from thematic analysis revealed that low perceived risk of HIV infection, fear of knowing HIV status and its associated stigma, lack of HIV prevention information and inadequate knowledge about HIV were the factors that make refugees vulnerable to HIV infection. These findings underscore the need for culturally appropriate HIV treatment, awareness, and education and prevention programmes for refugees living in South Africa, with particular focus on gender and power dynamics within relationships
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