VCT: voluntary counselling and testing or veritable communication tragedy?
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This article examines the communication factors and the prevailing socio-cultural context which underlies the lack of VCT uptake amongst male construction workers in South Africa. The article is based on focus group discussions carried out with a group of African construction workers in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal. Lack of understanding of the term “VCT”, lack of information on topics such as antiretroviral therapy and rapidtesting facilities, and lack of constructive interpersonal verbal communication on the topic were found to impact on VCTuptake. Socio-cultural factors such as high levels of stigma and discrimination of HIV positive persons, norms surrounding childcare, as well as notions of masculinity contributed to lack of VCT uptake amongst males. It was also noted that the perceived susceptibility of the males was high as a result of misunderstandings and irrational fears of the means of transmission of the HI virus. Suggested means of improving communication on VCT include re-branding VCT for certain populations, capitalising on the trust placed in radio, and implementing peerled education programmes to promote dialogical discussion.