Factors influencing marital stability among HIV discordant couples at the Kenyatta national hospital
The aim of this study was to establish factors that influence marital stability among HIV discordant couples. The study objectives were to determine the extent to which socio- economic status, therapeutic social interventions, demographic characteristics and culture influence marital stability among HIV discordant couples registered for group therapy at KNH. A cross-sectional study using mixed-methods approach randomly sampled 132 participants with each participants being a partner in a discordant couple marriage. Semi structured questionnaire were administered to each participant individually and four focus group discussions were conducted, two with the HIV negative and two with the HIV positives participants. Findings showed that female respondents were more likely to report fear that marriage will not work and that their partners may desert them; this was mainly experienced by those who were HIV positive and economically dependent upon their partners. Although most (55.8 percent) couples agreed that religion played an important role in marital stability, what came out strongly as having influenced marital stability was nature of interpersonal relationship among the couples which was indicated by 72.8 percent of the couples agreeing that their pattern of communication and openness among partners enhanced marital stability and 75.8 percent agreeing that trust and commitment to the relationship made them stay married. Social support and therapeutic social interventions was perceived as having enhanced marital stability in both focus group discussions and individual interviews. Based on the findings of this study, the researcher recommends that therapeutic social interventions like support groups and couple counseling be reinforced among HIV discordant couples immediately after testing. With these interventions in place; interpersonal relationship among the partners will be enhanced and hence their marriages will remain stable.