Why the(y) wait? Key informant understandings of factors contributing to late presentation and poor utilization of HIV health and social care services by African migrants in Britain

AIDS Care. 2007 Jan;19(1):102-8. doi: 10.1080/09540120600908440.


The majority of new HIV diagnoses in the UK occur in people with heterosexually acquired HIV infection, the majority of whom are migrant Africans. In the UK HIV positive Africans access HIV services at a later stage of disease than non-Africans (Burns et al., 2001; Sinka et al., 2003). Employing purposive sampling techniques, semi-structured interviews were conducted with key informants to identify the key issues affecting utilization of HIV services for Africans in Britain. Considerable agreement about the major issues influencing uptake of HIV services existed amongst the key informants. Respondents felt there was high HIV awareness but this did not translate into perception of individual risk. Home country experience and community mobilization was highly influential on HIV awareness, appreciation of risk, and attitudes to health services. Institutional barriers to care exist; these include lack of cultural understanding, lack of open access or community clinics, failure to integrate care with support organizations, and the inability of many General Practitioners to address HIV effectively. Community involvement should include input to ensure there is: better cultural understanding within the health care system; normalization of the HIV testing process; and a clear message on the effectiveness of therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Black People / ethnology
  • Community Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Confidentiality / psychology
  • Emigration and Immigration*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / ethnology*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • HIV Infections / therapy
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology*
  • Stereotyping
  • Time Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology