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Knowledge regarding HIV/AIDS among home-based caregivers in Namibia

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Author(s): Hileni Niikondo | Muhammad E. Hoque | Busi Ntuli-Ngcobo

Journal: Journal of Public Health in Africa
ISSN 2038-9922

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: e6;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: HIV | AIDS | Knowledge | Home based caregiver | Namibia

ABSTRACT
Lack of practical knowledge among home-based caregivers on human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and poor individual adherence to treatment are among the root causes of ineffective ART ser­vice delivery in Namibia. The purpose of our study was to investigate the knowledge among home-based caregivers in Namibia regarding HIV/AIDS. The study was a descriptive, cross-sectional one in which 89 participants completed a self-administered questionnaire to assess their knowledge of HIV/AIDS. Almost all (93%) of the respondents gave a correct definition of HIV. Over a tenth (11.3%) did not know that HIV decreases the body’s ability to fight disease and 33.7% could not define AIDS. Almost all (98%) the home-based caregivers knew that HIV can be diagnosed only through a blood test and 91% mentioned that consistent and correct use of condoms during sexual intercourse protects one from HIV infection. Fewer than half (44%) of the respondents could indicate on-and-off fever as a symptom of AIDS and 16% mentioned that increased body weight is a sign of AIDS, which is incorrect. Although the knowledge of the caregivers on HIV/AIDS was above average in some aspects, there was still lack of knowledge on isolated issues such as AIDS definitions and signs and how HIV works. Training organisations in home-based care settings should emphasise the knowledge of AIDS definition and signs as well as of post-test counselling, consequence of poor adherence and facilities that issue anti-retroviral treatment.
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