Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Laura Johnson

Relational Format



Each year HIV is responsible for approximately 75,000 deaths in Malawi and for creating 550,000 (75%) of Malawi's orphans (UNdata, 2006). UNAJDS and the World Healtli Organization recommend HIV testing as an important measure in preventing transmission to future sexual partners and children. However, only 20% of Malawians aged 15 years and above had ever participated in HIV testing (Machinjili, 2006, p.l3). Heterosexual contact is the primary' mode of HIV transmission and is responsible for 90% of Malawi’s HIV infections, making couples an important target for testing (Zanera & Miteka, 2004, p.l85). In Malawi, 93% of pregnant women receive antenatal care, making this a significant healthcare entry point for HIV testing (Zanera & Miteka, 2004, p. 133). Malawian men are not traditionally involved in seeking family healthcare. Acceptance of male involvement in reproductive health programs remains low despite Malawi’s male championship initiative recently introduced to antenatal clinics (Republic of Malawi, 2007, p.71). This study seeks to better understand how to increase male involvement in HIV testing by exploring the relative roles of socio-demographic characteristics, contextual factors and culturally congruent interventions in predicting male testing in antenatal clinics. Culturally congruent interventions including personalized male invitation letters, IV individual encouragement, and specialized male recruitment were implemented in four antenatal clinics in Lilongwe, Malawi across a five month time period. These clinics varied in degree of urbanization and degree of cultural congruency of layout. Through the duration of the five month study, male involvement increased from 0.38% to 3.79%. Findings indicate that the interventions were correlated with an increase in access of couples’ HIV testing. Combinations of inteiv^entions as well as the total number of interv-entions a woman received were found to be a major factor in successful male recruitment. The degree of cultural congruency and urbanization of each clinic was also found to be a significant factor. The socio-demographic characteristic of gestation in weeks was found to be significant. The relative success of these interx^entions suggests that further research should be conducted to increase male involvement using similar strategies and taking into consideration contextual and socio-demographic factors found significant in this study.

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