Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Access to HIV Care and Resilience in a Long Term Conflict Setting. A Pilot Qualitative Assessment of the Experiences of Living with Diagnosed HIV in Mogadishu, Somali

Version 1 : Received: 10 June 2017 / Approved: 12 June 2017 / Online: 12 June 2017 (06:26:20 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Kulane, A.; Owuor, J.O.A.; Sematimba, D.; Abdulahi, S.A.; Yusuf, H.M.; Mohamed, L.M. Access to HIV Care and Resilience in a Long-Term Conflict Setting: A Qualitative Assessment of the Experiences of Living with Diagnosed HIV in Mogadishu, Somali. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 721. Kulane, A.; Owuor, J.O.A.; Sematimba, D.; Abdulahi, S.A.; Yusuf, H.M.; Mohamed, L.M. Access to HIV Care and Resilience in a Long-Term Conflict Setting: A Qualitative Assessment of the Experiences of Living with Diagnosed HIV in Mogadishu, Somali. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 721.

Journal reference: Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 721
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph14070721

Abstract

Background: Human Immnodeficiency virus (HIV) continues to take a heavy toll on the lives of many people with worst impact on health and wellbeing for the affected individuals in fragile states. The HIV situation in Somalia is not clearly known and experiences of the people living with HIV in this war-torn region unexpressed. This pilot qualitative study sought to explore the experiences of people living with diagnosed HIV in Mogadishu and their resilience in access to care and social support. Method: Face-to-face in-depth interviews were conducted in Somali in May 2013 among patients who were receiving Antiretroviral therapy (ART) from the HIV clinic in Mogadishu. Participants were recruited through drug dispensers at the HIV clinic in Benader Hospital. These were tape recorded, transcribed and translated for content analysis. Results: Three women and four men who were living with HIV shared the following narratives. Their perception was that they had either got HIV from their spouces or through health care contamination. They were very knowledgable about the realities of HIV, how the medication works, nutritional requirements and drug adherence. They were always willing to go an extra mile to secure a good life for themselves. However the external HIV stigma impacted their access to care. They faced challenges in their homes and at work which compelled them to seek support from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or close family members. This stigma often affected their disclosure to the wider community due to the uncertainity of the repercussions, leading to a life of extreme loneliness and financial difficulties. The participants’ coping mechansms included living together and starting their own NGO for support with very strong optimism about their prognosis. Conclusions: The people living with diagnosed HIV in Mogadishu are highly knowledgeable about HIV transmission, the realities of living with diagnosed HIV infection and efficacy of HIV treatment. Our small sample suggests adequate access to ART through NGOs. However, widespread HIV stigma limits HIV status disclosure to the families and communities which creates a risk of self isolation and ill health. But affected individuals have developed resilient mechanisms of managing the risks. They strive to remain employed for economic security, adhere to HIV treatment, engage in support groups and maintain utmost optimism about their prognosis.

Subject Areas

Somali; conflict; health system; resilience; fragile; access; government; NGO

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