Dr Felix Apiribu was awarded a PhD in Nursing for his research on Perpetration of Intimate Partner Violence against HIV Positive Women Following Status Disclosure: A Phenomenological Study in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.

Supervised by Professors Busisiwe Ncama and Sinegugu Evidence Duma, the study explored and described men’s perpetration of intimate partner violence (IPV) against their female heterosexual partners following the disclosure of an HIV positive status by a female partner.

‘In recognition of the fact that HIV and IPV are complex and intertwined public health problems, I sought to explore and describe men’s lived experiences of perpetrating IPV following disclosure of a seropositive HIV status and the meaning attached to the experiences to inform the development of culturally appropriate assessment guidelines for IPV following disclosure of seropositive HIV status in Ghana,’ explained Apiribu.

He used an exploratory qualitative research design and a hermeneutic phenomenological approach to collect data from male participants who perpetrated IPV against HIV positive women.

Eighteen participants were recruited from HIV clinics in two hospitals subsequent to their female partners disclosing their HIV status. Potential participants were screened for recent perpetration of IPV and excluded if their partners stated that they had a weapon, if they were incarcerated or too ill to speak for themselves or if they were mentally ill.

The study found that men’s perpetration of IPV against HIV seropositive women impacted both the perpetrator and the victim. It recommends that all HIV patients, male and female, be screened for intimate partner abuse. Further studies should also be conducted on the views of female victims of IPV.

Apiribu is currently a senior lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. He aims to establish research collaborations to conduct further research on violence in intimate partner relationships as well as partner relationships as well as Gender-Based Violence in Ghana and the world as a whole. ‘It would be interesting to establish why most men who also tested positive for HIV thought that it was their partners who brought shame and the disease to the family and never considered themselves responsible.’

Words: Nombuso Dlamini

Photograph: Supplied