Barriers to Accessing HIV Services for Black African Communities in Cambridgeshire, the United Kingdom

Phindile Shangase, Catherine O. Egbe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The majority of new HIV diagnoses in the United Kingdom (UK) occur in people with heterosexually acquired HIV infection, the majority of whom are African communities. Current research shows that despite health promotion efforts and advances in therapy these communities are accessing HIV care late. This study therefore explored barriers to equal access to HIV services by African migrants in the UK. Kleinman’s (Patients and healers in the context of culture: an exploration of the borderland between anthropology, medicine, and psychiatry, vol 3. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1980) model of health care systems was applied in this research as a theoretical framework and lens through which the reported findings are viewed as it places health within the broader context of culture. In this research a qualitative approach with focus groups was used. A total of thirty participants were recruited from African migrant community organisations in Cambridgeshire in the East of England strategic health authority in order to study the experiences of African migrants when accessing sexual health services. It was found that barriers to equal access to HIV services exist for African communities in Cambridgeshire. These included language barriers and others bordering on the use of traditional medicine by African migrants, understanding of cultural diversity, awareness of how and where to access HIV services, and getting information about HIV. Findings highlighted the importance of taking the sectors of Kleinman’s [1] model into consideration when planning HIV services for African communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • African migrants
  • Barriers
  • Cambridgeshire
  • HIV services
  • Kleinman’s model


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