HIV and AIDS knowledge and attitudes among different marital statuses in Botswana: Results of the fourth Botswana Aids Impact Survey of 2013

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Senzokuhle Doreen Setume


Marital status has been identified as a contributing factor in the spread of HIV and AIDS. Most studies have found high prevalence rates of HIV and AIDS among couples in stable relationships such as marriage and cohabitation. The objective of this paper is to analyse knowledge and attitudes about HIV and AIDS among the married, never married, cohabiting, separated, divorced and the widowed. The data were derived from the fourth instalment of the Botswana AIDS Impact Survey (BAIS IV). A descriptive analysis using crosstab was applied to the data. The study found that 92% of individuals across the different BAIS surveys had knowledge about HIV and AIDS prevention. However, some culturally embedded attitudes inhibit negotiation for safe sex and refusal to have sex, especially among those in marriage and cohabiting relationships. Such cultural attitudes include the belief that only males can decide on whether or not to have sex, and the terms of such an interaction, as well as the idea that women should not hold their husbands accountable, even in instances where they suspect that infidelity is taking place. The study recommends that the government continue with disseminating information about HIV and AIDS transmission and prevention. However, there is need to put more effort in infusing HIV and AIDS education with life skills such as negotiation and refusal skills especially for those in stable relationships. The BAIS IV results also indicate a slight decline in the prevalence rate of HIV among married women. This is inconsistent with studies that found marriage to be a risk factor in the spread of HIV and AIDS.  

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Author Biography

Senzokuhle Doreen Setume, Lecturer, Department of Theology and Religious Studies. University of Botswana. or

Lecturer, Department of Theology and Religious Studies. University of Botswana.  or