Motivated reasoning and HIV Risk? Views on relationships, trust, and risk from young women in Cape Town, South Africa, and implications for oral PrEP
Hartmann, M., McConnell, M., Bekker, L-G., Celum, C., Bennie, T., Zuma, J., & van der Straten, A. (2018). Motivated reasoning and HIV Risk? Views on relationships, trust, and risk from young women in Cape Town, South Africa, and implications for oral PrEP. AIDS and Behavior. DOI: 10.1007/s10461-018-2044-2
In high prevalence environments relationship characteristics are likely to be associated with HIV risk, yet evidence indicates general underestimation of risk. Furthermore uncertainty about partner's risk may challenge PrEP demand among young African women. We conducted quantitative and qualitative interviews with women before and after HIV discussions with partners, to explore how partner's behavior affected risk perceptions and interest in PrEP. Twenty-three women were interviewed once; twelve had a follow-up interview after speaking to their partners. Fourteen women were willing to have their partner contacted; yet two men participated. Several themes related to relationships and risk were identified. These highlighted that young women's romantic feelings and expectations influenced their perceptions of risk within their relationships, consistent with the concept of motivated reasoning. Findings emphasize challenges in using risk to promote HIV prevention among young women. Framing PrEP in a positive empowering way that avoids linking it to relationship risk may ultimately encourage greater uptake.