Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Health

Advisor

Vibha Kumar

Abstract

The incidence of gonorrhea had declined since the HIV epidemic in the late 1980s, but is now increasing globally due to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant forms of this disease. In South Africa, the incidence of gonorrhea is highest among Black women due to their high co-infection rates with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This study examined the psychosocial determinants of gonorrhea among Black women aged 18 - 35 in the Langa township in Cape Town, South Africa. All participants had reported at least one sexual experience and at least one positive test for gonorrhea in the past two years. Participant recruitment involved flyer distribution at LoveLife, the community partner to the research study. After an initial screening call, 12 women were considered eligible and participated in the study. Interview data were gathered, transcribed, then hand-coded for emergent themes, guided by the tenets of the information-motivation-behavioral (IMB) skills conceptual framework. The findings of the study identified that the women did not have extensive knowledge of gonorrhea but believed that factors such as a sense of vulnerability, stress in relationships, and social/environmental factors increased their risk of contracting gonorrhea disease. These findings have global implications, as they lay the foundation for follow-up quantitative studies and outline policy recommendations for addressing gonorrhea.