HIV serostatus disclosure in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: A systematic review


HIV status disclosure among people living with HIV/AIDS has been shown to have a number of both personal and public health benefits, but rates of HIV status disclosure remain low in many African countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This systematic review uses the Disclosure Process Model to examine the factors involved in serostatus disclosure and nondisclosure to various persons in the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in the DRC, as well as the specific outcomes of their disclosure or nondisclosure. MEDLINE/PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Global Health, and PsycINFO were searched and research studies were included if: (i) the study discussed disclosure of HIV status; (ii) the study population included HIV-infected people in DRC; and (iii) the study was published in English. Fourteen articles met the inclusion criteria and were included in the study. Factors contributing to nondisclosure were generally associated with high stigma of HIV in adults and concern for emotional wellbeing when disclosing to HIV positive minors. Factors contributing to disclosure among adults were increased social support and religion. In disclosing to HIV positive minors, increasing age and health benefits were identified as approach goals that supported disclosure. The findings highlight the importance of understanding the avoidance and approach goals involved in HIV status disclosure among populations living in the DRC. Interventions and future research directed at increasing HIV disclosure among Congolese PLWHA should move beyond individual-level to consider multilevel factors including circumstantial social behaviors


Whembolua GL, Conserve DF, Thomas K, Tshiswaka DI, Handler L




  • Determinants of Health
    • Stigma/discrimination
  • Population(s)
    • Children or Youth (less than 18 years old)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Testing
    • Testing


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