The social impact of HIV infection on women in Kigali, Rwanda: a prospective study

Soc Sci Med. 1994 Apr;38(8):1047-53. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(94)90221-6.


In Rwanda, a central African country, the prevalence of HIV infection now exceeds 30% in urban adults. This study identifies the social services and counseling needs of women who are already infected with the HIV virus, the outcome after disclosure of the woman's HIV test result to her partner and estimates the social support available to the women from their partners and relatives. Fifty-five HIV-positive women in Kigali were interviewed in 1988 and 47 of this group were interviewed again in 1991. The social services most needed by the women in 1988 were housing, employment and money. By 1991, the women prioritised food, housing and money as their current needs and food, childcare and money were their future needs in the event they became ill. The preferred sources of support in 1988 were individual counseling and women's support groups. By 1991, the preferred sources of support were individual counseling and their priest. In 1988, almost 75% of the women did not expect a supportive reaction from their partners after disclosure of the test result. In 1991, acceptance, understanding and sympathy were the most common reactions of the partners after disclosure. However, 8 (21%) had not told their partner their test result. After disclosure, 18 of the 37 partners were subsequently tested. Of those tested, 75% were HIV-positive and 25% were HIV-negative. Condom use was almost twice as high when the partner was informed of the test result, although in couples overall, a third were not using condoms despite knowing the test result.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data
  • Counseling*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Employment
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / rehabilitation*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Morale
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rwanda / epidemiology
  • Self-Help Groups
  • Sexual Partners
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology
  • Social Support*
  • Social Work*
  • Truth Disclosure
  • Women's Health*