Role of Counseling in the Disclosure of HIV Status to Sexual Partners among HIV Positive Women Accessing PMTCT Services in South Nigeria

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.04.04.Art026

Authors : Adetumi Adetunji Subulade


HIV infection is still associated with a lot of stigmatization and discrimination, which makes it difficult for infected individuals to disclose their status. Many studies have shown different rates of disclosure of HIV status with average of 71% in the developed world and 52% in the developing world (WHO 2004)). Different reasons were attributed to non-disclosure of HIV status which included fear of abandonment, fear of rejection and discrimination, fear of violence and fear of upsetting family members.

Counseling is integral to guiding the infected persons to disclosure and a study by Alemayehu et al (2014) in Northern Ethiopia support that counseling is important to HIV disclosure. In ANC in Nigeria, opt out counseling and testing is practiced as recommended by WHO which focused on group counseling, it is however recommended that HIV positive individuals should be privileged to have one on one counseling with counselors to avail them of the opportunity to be properly counseled on the benefits of disclosure and other HIV care (FHI, 2008).

Counseling is an intervention that gives one the opportunity to confidentially discuss his or her situation in a dialogue with the aim of helping the person to explore and work out possible solutions in a reasonable manner. Disclosure is essential to achieving good HIV care especially in PMTCT for many reasons. It motivates sexual partners to go for testing, change risky behaviors and provide support to the infected partners as showing in several studies which reported high support rate for infected persons who disclosed their status to their sexual partners. Other benefits are that it increased the opportunities for improved access to appropriate medical treatment and care and to plan HIV risk reduction with sexual partners (WHO, 2004).

Scogmar et al (2006) in the study in South Africa did not show correlation between HIV counseling and disclosure and likewise Adeyemo et al (2011) in Lagos, South west Nigeria reported low disclosure to counseling even though there was improvement in the attitude change towards disclosure after counseling. This study is therefore aimed at determining the role of counseling in the disclosure of HIV status to sexual partners among HIV positive women in PMTCT programme.


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