Barriers and Strategies to Improve Men’s Uptake of HIV Care Services in Rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: A Qualitative Approach




HIV, South Africa, pre-exposure prophylaxis, antiretroviral therapy, men's health


The 2017 Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS Blind Spot report echoes the challenges as well as the benefits of men’s effective utilisation of HIV services. However, men have been consistently missing from the HIV care cascade, leading to poor health outcomes in men and ongoing transmission of HIV in young women in South Africa. This study sought to understand key barriers to effective uptake of HIV services among men and potential strategies to address these challenges. Ten semi-structured telephone interviews and three workshops were conducted (from July to November 2020) with a purposive sample of men aged 21–65 years (N = 26) from rural KwaZulu-Natal. Broad themes were identified from the interview transcripts and analysed inductively. Masculine norms, stigma, and fear of an HIV identity were major barriers to the uptake of HIV testing among men as well as hesitancy due to perceived risks. Participants living with HIV identified various sociopsychological, structural, and COVID-related factors inhibiting the uptake of and adherence to HIV treatment. Besides condoms and circumcision, no participants had prior knowledge of pre-exposure prophylaxis. Participants suggested that men need tailored HIV/AIDS messaging and education (led by men living with HIV) about the benefits of HIV testing, treatment, and prevention. Importantly, they believed that community delivery of HIV services would encourage more men to engage in care. To achieve zero new infections and zero AIDS-related deaths of men in South Africa, efforts should be directed to developing tailored emotive educational and community-based interventions that address identified barriers to improve men’s utilisation of HIV care services.

Author Biography

Oluwafemi Adeagbo, University of Johannesburg

Department of Community and Behavioural Health


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How to Cite

Adeagbo, Oluwafemi, Zakhele Xulu, Dumsani Gumede, and Kammila Naidoo. “Barriers and Strategies to Improve Men’s Uptake of HIV Care Services in Rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: A Qualitative Approach”. Journal of Law, Society and Development, 23 pages.



Received 2023-09-27
Accepted 2024-01-02
Published 2024-02-21