The HIV prevalence rate in Malawi, currently estimated to be 15%, is among the highest in the world. There is a growing realization that in order to understand the underlying causes and devise more effective prevention strategies focus should be placed on economic, political, social, and cultural forces as well as perceptions of individual risk to HIV/AIDS. During 2003 we conducted field work in Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi, to examine perceptions of individuals as to their risk to HIV infection using the structured interviews and the focus group discussions with men from five areas of Lilongwe. The discussion in this paper focuses on the perception of risk to HIV infection among men in low socioeconomic income areas that we interviewed. Our findings indicate that while knowledge about HIV/AIDS and the best ways in which one can protect oneself from getting HIV is very high, people continue to engage in at-risk behaviors without using the necessary protection. Many of the men in our sample indicated that they were indeed at risk of getting infected with HIV. In spite of this, some of the respondents in both the structured interviews and the focus group discussions pointed out that some people had began taking measures to protect themselves, such as using condoms with nonregular partners, women leaving their husbands where cheating was obvious, and, for men, reducing the number of extra-marital sexual relations.
- Perception of Risk, HIV/AIDS, Malawi
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- History and Philosophy of Science