Objective: To describe the perceptions of key stakeholders regarding the counselling needs of HIV sero-discordant couples as part of preparation for a clinical trial involving HIV sero-discordant couples. Design: Qualitative study using key informant and couple interviews. Setting: Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH). Subjects: A purposive sample of nine key informants and 31 couple interviews totaling 71 participants. The couple interviews consisted of HIV untested, HIV concordant (positive and negative) and discordant couples. Results: Seventy one individuals participated in nine key informant and 31 couple interviews. The responses identified the following as key issues in counselling HIV discordant couples: The need for education on the meaning of HIV sero-discordancy including potential sources of infection; assistance in disclosing HIV test results to one's partner; discussion of the stigma surrounding formula feeding. Overall, the participants supported safer sexual practices in discordant partnerships. Conclusions: Psychosocial support of HIV sero-discordant couples should include messages about the meaning, mechanisms and implications of sero-discordancy. Culturally appropriate HIV-disclosure and safer sex messages are also needed to support these partnerships.
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