Violence and Abuse Among HIV-Infected Women and Their Children in Zambia: A Qualitative Study


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Abstract

HIV and violence are two major public health problems increasingly shown to be connected and relevant to international mental health issues and HIV-related services. Qualitative research is important due to the dearth of literature on this association in developing countries, cultural influences on mental health syndromes and presentations, and the sensitive nature of the topic. The study presented in this paper sought to investigate the mental health issues of an HIV-affected population of women and children in Lusaka, Zambia, through a systematic qualitative study. Two qualitative methods resulted in the identification of three major problems for women: domestic violence (DV), depression-like syndrome, and alcohol abuse; and children: defilement, DV, and behavior problems. DV and sexual abuse were found to be closely linked to HIV and alcohol abuse. This study shows the local perspective of the overlap between violence and HIV. Results are discussed in relation to the need for violence and abuse to be addressed as HIV services are implemented in sub-Saharan Africa.

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