Discordance, Disclosure and Normative Gender Roles: Barriers to Couple Testing Within a Community-Level HIV Self-Testing Intervention in Urban Blantyre, Malawi
AuthorKumwenda, Moses Kelly; Corbett, Elizabeth Lucy; Chikovore, Jeremiah; Phiri, Mackwellings; Mwale, Daniel; Choko, Augustine Talumba; Nliwasa, Marriot; Sambakunsi, Rodrick; Taegtmeyer, Miriam; Gutteberg, Tore Jarl; Munthali, Alister; Desmond, Nicola
A community-based HIV self-testing study in Blantyre, Malawi demonstrated that not all individuals living in couples tested with their partner. We describe factors dissuading individuals in couples from self-testing with their partner. Data were drawn from qualitative study exploring consequences of HIV self-testing within couples. In-depth interviews were conducted with 33 individuals living in couples who tested alone. Participants expressed fear of dealing with HIV-discordant relationships. Failure to self-test with a partner was correlated with gender, with more men than women overtly declining or unconsciously unable to have joint HIV self-test. Men feared exposure of infdelity and were often not available at home for economic reasons. Barriers to uptake of couple HIV self-testing seemed to be shaped by gendered dichotomies of social-relationships. To help achieve the frst 90% of the UNAIDS 90:90:90 goals, it is important to overcome structural barriers to realise the full potential of HIV self-testing.