Health Transit Rev. 1997 ; 7 Suppl(): 243-56.
Health-seeking behaviour of persons with HIV/AIDS in Ghana.
Department of Geography, University of Cape Coast, Ghana.
Historically, diseases whose aetiology could not be readily explained have been given supernatural explanations among the various ethnic groups in Ghana. Now HIV infection, with no known cure and origin, has been given a supernatural explanation. Such an explanation of disease causation influences people's attitude to the disease and to infected persons, and influences the health-seeking behaviour of infected persons. Data from a study on the Social Dimensions of HIV/AIDS Infections in Ghana are used to examine the health-seeking behaviour of some persons with AIDS interviewed in 1992. The paper examines the health care outlets used by infected persons and the reasons for using those outlets. Some HIV-infected persons in Ghana felt that they had been bewitched and, therefore, used multiple health care outlets, either serially or simultaneously, hoping that one of them might provide a cure or relief as well as explain the source of the infection. This is in spite of the continuing educational campaign stating that the disease has no cure. Such attitudes towards the disease and health-seeking behaviour should be considered in the design of programs for infected persons.