Research Question 1: How does cultural perception influence HIV-related knowledge and prevention practices among African adolescents?
HIV/AIDS continues to be a major global health concern, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa where the burden of the disease is disproportionately high. Among the most affected population groups are African adolescents, who are particularly vulnerable due to a combination of physiological and psychosocial factors. In order to address the specific needs and challenges faced by this group, it is crucial to gain a comprehensive understanding of the factors that influence HIV-related knowledge and prevention practices. This study aims to explore the role of cultural perceptions in shaping these factors among African adolescents.
Research Question 2: What are the communication barriers in accessing HIV prevention and treatment services among African adolescents?
Despite substantial efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS, many African adolescents still face significant challenges in accessing prevention and treatment services. These challenges may be attributed, in part, to various communication barriers that hinder their engagement with healthcare providers and limit their access to crucial information. Identifying and understanding these barriers is essential for the development of targeted interventions and policy recommendations to enhance HIV prevention and treatment services among African adolescents. This study aims to investigate the communication barriers faced by this population group in accessing such services.
To answer the aforementioned research questions, a qualitative research design will be employed. Qualitative research methods are particularly suited for exploring complex social phenomena and gaining an in-depth understanding of individuals’ experiences, perspectives, and behaviors. In this study, the researchers will utilize a combination of focus groups and in-depth interviews with African adolescents aged 15-19 years, residing in urban areas of selected countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The sampling strategy will be purposeful, aiming to recruit participants who represent a range of socio-demographic characteristics and HIV-related experiences. Participants will be recruited through community-based organizations, schools, and healthcare facilities that cater to the needs of adolescents. In order to ensure diversity, efforts will be made to include both males and females, individuals from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and those with varying levels of HIV knowledge and engagement with prevention and treatment services.
The data collection process will involve both focus group discussions (FGDs) and in-depth interviews. FGDs will be conducted with groups of 8-10 participants, allowing for group dynamics and the sharing of diverse views and experiences. In-depth interviews will be conducted with a subset of participants who express a willingness to participate individually or have specific experiences they may feel uncomfortable sharing in a group setting. Both data collection methods will be conducted using semi-structured interview guides, which will include open-ended questions exploring participants’ knowledge and beliefs about HIV, cultural perceptions, communication preferences, and the barriers they experience in accessing prevention and treatment services.
All interviews and focus group discussions will be audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. The data will then be analyzed using thematic analysis. This will involve a systematic process of coding the transcripts to identify recurring themes, concepts, and patterns. Through an iterative process of data immersion, coding, and analysis, the researchers will generate themes and categories that capture the central concepts and findings related to cultural perceptions and communication barriers in the context of HIV among African adolescents.
The research study will adhere to ethical guidelines and obtain informed consent from all participants. Confidentiality and anonymity of the participants will be ensured throughout the research process, including data collection, storage, and reporting. Ethical considerations will be given to the potential emotional and psychological impact on participants, and appropriate support and referral mechanisms will be in place.