Acceptability of an Intervention to Promote Viral Suppression and Serostatus Disclosure for Men Living with HIV in South Africa: Qualitative Findings

Mathenjwa, M., Khidir, H., Milford, C., Mosery, N., Rambally Greener, L., Pratt, M.C., O’Neil, K., Harrison, A., Bangsberg, D.R., Safren, S.A., & Smit, J.A.

Men living with HIV (MLWH) often have reproductive goals that can increase HIV-transmission risks to their pregnancy partners. We developed a safer conception intervention for MLWH in South Africa employing cognitive behavioral skills to promote serostatus disclosure, ART uptake, and viral suppression. MLWH were recruited from an HIV clinic near Durban, South Africa, and encouraged to include partners in follow-up visits. Exit in-depth interviews were conducted with eleven men and one female partner. The emerging over-arching theme is that safer conception care mitigates internalized and community-level HIV-stigma among MLWH. Additional related sub-themes include: (1) safer conception care acceptability is high but structural barriers challenge participation; (2) communication skills trainings helped overcome barriers to disclose serostatus; (3) feasibility and perceived effectiveness of strategies informed safer conception method selection. Our findings suggest that offering safer conception care to MLWH is a novel stigma-reducing strategy for motivating HIV prevention and treatment and serostatus disclosure to partners.

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South Africa