Original Research

HIV knowledge, attitudes and practices amongst patients with severe mental illnesses and chronic medical illnesses in Durban, South Africa

Thembeka Matshoba, Sibongile Mashaphu, Andrew Tomita, Saeeda Paruk
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 27 | a1586 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v27i0.1586 | © 2021 Thembeka Matshoba, Sibongile Mashaphu, Andrew Tomita, Saeeda Paruk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 July 2020 | Published: 28 June 2021

About the author(s)

Thembeka Matshoba, Department of Psychiatry, School of Clinical Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Sibongile Mashaphu, Department of Psychiatry, School of Clinical Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Andrew Tomita, Centre for Rural Health, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and, KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform (KRISP), College of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Saeeda Paruk, Department of Psychiatry, School of Clinical Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Studies exploring HIV knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of individuals with severe mental illness (SMI) have suggested their poorer knowledge about HIV. In KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province, South Africa (SA), the epicentre of the country’s HIV epidemic, improving KAP is essential for reduce its incidence amongst individuals with SMI. Comparing the KAP related to HIV between those with SMI and chronic medical illnesses (CMI) such as hypertension and diabetes may expose gaps in KAP related to HIV in the mentally ill who are more vulnerable to HIV.

Aim: This study aimed to compare the KAP related to HIV between people living with SMI and CMI.

Setting: Outpatient clinics in Durban, SA.

Methods: A cross-sectional structured questionnaire survey was conducted amongst 214 adult outpatients with SMI and CMI attending two general public sector hospitals in Durban, KZN. The KAP questionnaire consisted of three sections: general information, prevention and transmission of HIV.

Results: Interviews were conducted with 124 patients with SMI and 90 with CMI. Most were female (69.5%), single (57.5%) and unemployed (59.4%). The diagnosis of SMI was associated with poorer general information of HIV (p = 0.02), but not with its prevention and transmission compared with those with CMI. Educational level was associated with poorer performance in all three domains: general information of HIV (p = 0.01), prevention (p = 0.01) and transmission (p = 0.02) amongst all the participants.

Conclusion: Gaps in the KAP of HIV amongst individuals with SMI compared with those with CMI suggested a need to provide focused health promotion regarding sexual health and HIV to the mentally ill at psychiatric facilities.


Keywords

HIV; human immunodeficiency virus; AIDS; acquired immune deficiency; knowledge; attitude; practices; South Africa

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