I did a title/abstract search for HIV and Malawi in Medline to find out what research has been published about Malawi on HIV. The search revealed 103 publications so far this year.
There a number of really impressive studies looking at many aspects of HIV such as treatment of children, palliative care, clinical trials and use of contraception etc…
Here are a few that I found interesting. I use the term “interesting” very loosely as my criteria for discussing them in this weekend’s column. Here are the first three that caught my attention.
‘Persistent Misconceptions about HIV Transmission among Males and Females in Malawi’ by Sano et al in BMC International Health and Human Rights: Using the 2010 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey, the study explored factors associated with misconceptions about HIV transmission among males and females. They found that larger proportion of women (44.6 percent) endorsed at least one of the misconceptions about HIV transmission than their male counterparts (37.2 percent).
Tumbuka women and men were more likely to endorse misconceptions about HIV transmission than those in other ethnic groups. Muslim women and men were more likely to endorse misconceptions than their Christian counterparts. The study authors suggest that education on HIV transmission in Malawi should integrate cultural and ethnic considerations of HIV/AIDS.
‘Geospatial Analysis of Condom Availability and Accessibility in Urban Malawi’ by Shacham et al in International Journal of STD and AIDS: The study assessed the availability and accessibility of condoms in Kawale, Lilongwe, Malawi. A total of 220 potential condom-selling establishments were surveyed in 2012 (so a bit old…).
Of those audited, 96 stores sold condoms, 13 of which distributed free condoms. The study authors suggest multiple barriers to accessing condoms include; few stores sold condoms, high costs, condom locations within stores and limited availability.
‘What are the social and individual factors that are associated with undergoing male circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy?’ A mixed methods study in Malawi by Zamawe and Kusamula in International Health: They studied 1644 men, of at least 18 years old and found men who chose to be circumcised were more likely to be unemployed, married and to have had exposure to circumcision promotions. They were also more likely to reside in rural areas and to be more knowledgeable about the benefits of circumcision. The study authors suggest that deliberate effort should target other categories of men.
I would love to hear from you readers….is access to condoms in Kawale a problem? Are Tumbukas and Muslims less knowledgeable on HIV misconceptions and why? What strategies can be used to engage other categories of men to get circumcised?