South Africa has been seriously affected by the HIV and Aids pandemic, with the agricultural sector being no exception (Zvomuya, 2005: 33). The Department of Health (DOH, 2007: 4) identified that inadequate health care capacity particularly in rural areas is one of the factors contributing to the disproportionate provision of good quality care and targeted development. Therefore, in South Africa, the farming community is one of the sectors with disproportionate provision of health care especially in HIV management. Among the farming communities in general, awareness, treatment and prevention has been utilized as components of a strategy intended to empower the farm employers and employees (Zvomuya, 2005: 33).
The objective of this study was to explore and describe the perceptions of the farming community on HIV and Aids. A qualitative, exploratory and descriptive research design was followed to explore and describe the perceptions of the farming community on HIV and Aids in the Limpopo Province. The study the population consisted of the farm owner, farm managers and farm employees both males and females above the age of eighteen (18) years in the Limpopo Province. A purposive sampling method and a convenient sampling were used in this study. The researcher used in- depth one on one interviews to collect data so as to explore and describe the perceptions of the farming community on HIV and Aids and field notes were taken. Data was analysed according to Tesch’s analysis method. Categories, sub categories and themes were identified and verified by means of literature control. The following seven categories were identified and described: Emotions linked to HIV and Aids, individual characteristics and experiences, behavior cognition and affect, human resource issues, lack of recreational facilities, health care needs, and support as a health promotion strategy.
The researcher recommended that educational programmes such as effective risk reducing programmes and awareness, as well as support structures, should be made available to all farming community. Due to the scarcity of information on HIV and Aids in the farming community, a variety of methods like audio visual media in a form of radio and television and printed media in a form of posters, charts, pamphlets and booklets can be used to disseminate the knowledge. However, this knowledge is not limited to hosting educational sessions, training workshops, community meetings, focus groups, and wellness programs by peer educators and community leaders. Based on the above recommendations, further research in other areas to explore the perceptions of the farming community on HIV and Aids in depth is relevant.
In conclusion, regular training on HIV and Aids is therefore crucial given that the findings of this study showed that, despite the HIV awareness campaigns going on in South Africa, some segments of the population do not get the message, specifically the farming community. The universal access of health care services which most of us take for granted are not accessible in the farming community due to their long working hours and the fact that the mobile clinics which use to provide basic PHC (primary health care) services were no longer coming.
Dissertation (MCur)--University of Pretoria, 2013.