Lay beliefs, practices of TB and HIV/AIDS among the community members living in Machakos County, Kenya: A cross sectional study
Kabiru, Ephantus W.
Kasusu, Mutinda A.
Mwaniki, Peter .K.
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Knowledge of lay beliefs on existence, cause, mode of TB transmission, and the association of TB/HIV relationship are key entry point to initiate effective prevention and control of TB in communities. Misconceptions of this result to fear and stigma that can sustain TB transmission. The main objective of this study was to determine the study community beliefs of TB, its relationship with HIV/AIDS and to quantify prevention practices. A cross- sectional survey of community members was done in Athi-river and Central Divisions of Machakos County. A pre-tested self administered questionnaire and researcher assisted interviews was used to collect data. The data was analyzed by use of statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) version 16. Pearson Chi-Square analysis was used to determine the relationships between variables. Level of significance was fixed at 0.05 (p=0.05). The results of this study reveal a majority (90.6%) of the community is aware of the existence of TB and that 90.1% believe it can be transmitted p<0.05 respectively. Misconceptions and lay beliefs on the cause and mode of TB disease transmission was prevalent with (90.8%) blaming these on unrelated factors such as smoking, poor hygiene, HIV/AIDS, hereditary and sharing eating utensils respectively. The community practices were discriminatory as they separated eating utensils of TB patients or isolated them as a way of preventing the disease spread which causes fear. A slight majority of the community (46.5%) believes TB is related to HIV/AIDS, a disease of stigma citing similarity of symptoms .The rest obseveve there is no relationship and said the symptoms and modes of transmission are different. The Ministry of health needs to urgently bridge this gap by disseminating health education on TB and TB/ HIV/AIDS relationships in the communities to demystify fear that result from misconceptions.