Completed Research Women and HIV: issues, concerns, responses and coping (2001)

Women and HIV: issues, concerns, responses and coping (2001)

This was a very short and intense study to:

  1. Document the issues, concerns, problems and felt needs of the women directly and/or indirectly affected by HIV.
  2. Document the understanding, perspectives and services provided by the health care systems to HIV infected women.
  3. Understand overall knowledge, attitude and perceptions about HIV in community and study its relation to care, support, stigma and discrimination.
  4. Propose a model of integrating HIV/AIDS related issues in the RCH services.

In order to understand these issues, in-depth interviews of HIV infected women, key informants and health care providers from private and public sector were conducted. We also conducted a random field based study of knowledge and attitude towards HIV of 403 individuals using a structured questionnaire. Because of the difficulties in identifying PLHA in the community we had to rely on a self-selected sample of women reaching the PRAYAS consulting and treatment facility.

Observations suggested that women were getting affected at a very young age. "Marriage" seemed to be the most important risk factor for them. Many of them were married even before 18 yrs of age and most of them were below 25 yrs of age. As a woman she was generally a dependant member of the family. With HIV and with host of such problems her dependency increased. The most important of the needs were that of gaining psychological and economic support and non-discriminatory behaviors from family members. It was observed that most women did not receive any support from their in-laws. Other factors that fueled these problems were domestic violence, alcoholism of the husband and his sexual relations.

Knowledge of health care providers from public sector was better as compared to that of private sector but paradoxically most of the people were not willing to avail the facilities in public sector and would prefer private sector services.


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