An investigation into the challenges facing associations of people living with HIV/AIDS in Karongi district-Western province, Rwanda

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College of Humanities and Social Sciences
The study is linked to investigating the challenges facing association of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Rwanda, with particular emphasis on Karongi District. The variables treated in the study included factors leading to the formation of APLWHA, the activities they carry out, their challenges and coping mechanisms. The category of respondents included: association leaders, and members, family members, local leaders, medical workers, staff of NGO/FBOs, and PLWHA. The methods of data collection involved were questionnaires, focus group discussion guides, interview guides, and observations on activities of PLWHA. These were useful instruments in the investigation. The major findings of the study reveal that: Poverty, stigmatization of PLWHA, high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, lack of information and the burden of caring for orphans are among other factors that led to the formation of APLWL-IA in Karongi district. The activities undertaken by association members include mobilization and sensitization, home visits, lobbying and advocacy, farming, counseling, food sales and support supervision. The APLWI-IA face the following challenges: poverty, stigmatization of PLWHA, difficulty in accessing ARVs, the burden of caring for orphans and other vulnerable children, lack of collateral and poor loan repayment which had negative implications. The coping mechanisms used by APLWHA include holding of regular meetings, soliciting for help from donors and the government, frequent home visits, and involvement in lGAs. The major conclusions were that it was necessary that the APLWHA be formed so as to enhance care and support being offered to those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and from these recommendations were made to various stakeholders like government and donors to increase on financial, material, and technical support. These were deemed as essential in implementing the desired changes so that effective and efficient implementation of the association activities and dealing with challenges that they face can be achieved
A thesis submitted to the School of Post Graduate studies and Research in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Master of Arts in Development Studies of Kampala International University
HIV/AIDS, Karongi district-Western province, Rwanda