Vulnerability and Gonorrhea: A Qualitative Study of Black Women in South Africa

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Takiyah White Ndwanya
Vibha Kumar
Raymond Panas


Background: Gonorrhea is becoming a health concern globally due to its susceptibility to resistance of antibiotics, and this is a concern particularly for Black women in South Africa. Vulnerability among Black women leads to unsafe sexual practices, and this qualitative study explores the relationship between vulnerability and risk of gonorrhea.

Methods: Participants were interviewed using an in-depth questionnaire at Lovelife, a local non-governmental organization in the Langa township of Cape Town, South Africa from October 2014-December 2014. Interviews were conducted using the information-motivation-behavioral skills conceptual framework and analyzed using thematic coding and triangulated through member-checking.

Results: Vulnerability affected the women’s motivation to change at-risk behavior because the control was out of her hands. Of the 12 respondents, 92% were unemployed and dependent on her partner and his family (in some circumstances), which lowered their sexual power and ability to make decisions about sexual behavior that led them to at least one gonorrhea infection.

Conclusion: The findings from this study have social influence because regardless of age, socioeconomic status (SES) or educational level, women feel a need to discuss behavior in a medium that is not judgmental or instructive, but one that fosters openness and support.

Gonorrhea, vulnerability, black women, STDs, STIs, qualitative methodology, South Africa, In-depth questionnaire

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How to Cite
White Ndwanya, T., Kumar, V., & Panas, R. (2016). Vulnerability and Gonorrhea: A Qualitative Study of Black Women in South Africa. International STD Research & Reviews, 4(3), 1-8.
Original Research Article