Diversity & Equality in Health and Care Open Access

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Sudanese women living in Victoria, Australia: health-information-seeking behaviours and the availability, effectiveness and appropriateness of HIV/AIDS information

Beverley-Ann Biggs, Rhiannon Palmer, Chris Lemoh, Rachel Tham, Shiraz Hakim

The aim of this study was to understand the perceptions of Sudanese women regarding their potential vulnerability to HIV infection and their preferred sources of HIV-related information. The study was designed in consultation with members of theSudanese community in Victoria, Australia. Semistructured interviews were undertaken with 11 Sudanese-born women who had migrated from Sudan and who were resident in Victoria. Thematic analysis revealed several key points:. The women considered that an important factor increasing their vulnerability to HIV infection was lack of access to education and awareness.. The women believed that this lack of access was largely due to socio-cultural barriers to information seeking, inadequate types of information sources, timing of information dissemination, and lack of culturally appropriate information.. The women suggested that HIV information would be most effectively disseminated to their communities by providing members who were already held in high regard by Victoria’s Sudanese community with culturally appropriate and accurateinformation.Verbal and visual sources of information were identified as the preferred media. There was a particular preference for information sessions and educational seminars. The nature of the vulnerabilities to HIV infection perceived by these Sudanese born women living in Victoria, their active participation in this study, and the widespread positive response of the city’s Sudanese community, suggest a culturally appropriate HIV public health education campaign would be welcomed if it was to be implemented with the involvement of the community. The lack of HIV awareness that was identified in this study suggests that there is an increasing need to implement adequate and appropriately targeted HIV education and harm reduction strategies.