Ayalu Reda, graduate student in sociology at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, is a the lead author of a study on HIV disclosure rates among men and women in Ethiopia. More than 1.2 million people in Ethiopia are thought to be HIV-positive.
In an article published earlier this month in the journal AIDS Care, Reda and his colleagues at Jimma University presented the results of their survey of more than 1,500 people who are receiving antiretroviral treatment in eastern Ethiopia. The results showed that one third of the HIV patients had not disclosed their status to their spouse. Only 17 percent told their siblings they were HIV positive. Nearly 12 percent had not disclosed their HIV-positive status to anyone. Unmarried and illiterate patients were the least likely to disclose their status to others.
Reda conducted the study after he observed that many patients traveled long distances to receive treatment rather than visiting clinics close to their homes. Reda stated, “We suspected that this may be related to the fact that patients did not disclose their infection status to family members and did not want to risk being seen taking medications in nearby centers.” Reda concludes from the results of his study that “concerted counseling efforts need to be instituted to create a supportive environment whereby patients could disclose their infection without fear of discrimination.”
Reda is a graduate of Haramaya University in Ethiopia. He holds a master’s degree in epidemiology from Maastricht University in The Netherlands.