Background: Disclosing HIV serostatus is important for HIV prevention and maintenance of health for people living with HIV their spouses and the community, it plays a role in the social relation which is critical in reducing HIV transmission. The process may have positive and negative effects to the HIV infected people who disclose their status. The present study was undertaken to describe HIV serostatus disclosure among HIV infected people attending care and treatment clinic at Sekou-Toure hospital in Mwanza, Tanzania.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out on 270 HIV infected adults attending Care and Treatment Clinic (CTC) at Sekou-Toure hospital between September and October, 2010. A Swahili questionnaire was used to obtain demographic and HIV disclosure information.
Results: Hundred and ninety five (72.5%) of all recruited participants were females, 88.1% (238/270) were aged above 30 years and 44.1% (119/270) were married. The prevalence of serostatus disclosure was 93.3% (252/270) with participants aged above 30 years having significantly higher proportion of serostatus disclosure compared to those aged below 30 years (94.5% vs. 84.4%, p < 0.05). Among the participants who disclosed their status, 69.3% reported closeness to the disclosed person as the reason for disclosure while 25.8% (65/252) disclosed because they needed help. Two hundred (79.4%) reported to have received emotional support following disclosure while 25.8% and 29.7% received financial support and freedom to use their anti-retroviral drugs around the person they disclosed their status respectively. Thirty four participants reported to have been discriminated following disclosure and 12 participants reported to have been divorced.
Conclusions: Rate of disclosure of HIV serostatus was noted to be high in this study. Delayed disclosure was also noted in small proportion of participants. Negative outcomes following disclosure of serostatus were reported by participants. Efforts need to be increased to promote disclosure of HIV serostatus in Tanzania through health education and awareness for both HIV infected individuals and the community.