In Haitian culture, homosexuality is taboo. Homosexuality is not talked about and it is not part of the Haitian culture. People who are homosexuals hide in the closet and people don’t talk about it. If a gay or lesbian family member admits to being gay or lesbian, the family does not talk about it and there will be a disregarding of that fact and complete denial. Since homosexual relationships are denied and hidden, homosexuals don’t engage in showing public displays of affection towards one another. This belief is slowly changing especially for those who are more open-minded and not traditional or conservative (Purnell, 2013).
The St. Fleur family, the family of Ronald is known in the community and well respected because of their traditional values and religious values. If Ronald’s parents will know that he is HIV positive they will definitely be concerned and will investigate further as to how Ronald got the disease. Once the family will discover that it is due to Ronald’s risky behaviors and that Ronald is gay, based on Haitian culture, there will be a total denial and the family will be quiet about it (Purnell, 2013). The family will be in disbelief and they will try to hide it and cover it for the sake of their reputation in the community. They will not talk about Ronald being gay.
As a healthcare provider, it is important to provide culturally sensitive care to every patient. The Haitian community is one part of the diverse patients that healthcare workers must learn how to give proper culturally sensitive care to. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016 there are approximately 150,000 Haitian people living with HIV/AIDS. This includes heterosexual and homosexual unsafe and unprotected sexual activities (CDC, 2018). As a healthcare provider, it is imperative to understand the Haitian culture and the connection with the culture’s practices and finding ways to prevent HIV infection. In Haitian culture the practice of men having a wife and a mistress is conventional. The family of the man knows about the mistress but the wife even if she knows will pretend that they don’t know (Purnell, 2013). It is a common practice that can lead to sexually transmitted infections, HIV, etc. It is important to educate the patient regarding safe sex practices such as condom use and other methods as well as health education while being respectful of the patient’s culture. Another important aspect of giving care to Haitians is to use a professional interpreter if the patient needs one and that the patient does not personally know the interpreter. Haitians are very private regarding their health (Purnell, 2013). By getting an interpreter, there will be an accurate translation and the patient will truly understand the healthcare teaching with regards to HIV/AIDS. While a lot of Haitians understand English well, some of them might not understand and might be too shy, some just smile and nod and pretend to understand the healthcare worker. This will be a hindrance to proper care. Lastly, since it is taboo in traditional Haitian culture to be a homosexual and people hide and don’t come out in their closets, it is important to include teachings in preventing HIV transmissions by safe sex practices in general including same-sex practices. Timely testing the sexual partners of HIV positive patients is very important. CDC is working with the Haitian Ministry of Health in promoting World Health Organization’s program that those who tested positive for HIV will be instantaneously qualified for antiretroviral therapy (CDC, 2018). It is important the as healthcare workers, we have to try to gain the patient’s trust. By gaining their trust, patients can confide in us and we as healthcare workers can advocate for them and give them the best possible care while protecting their privacy and patient confidentiality.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, October 9). Achieving Epidemic Control of HIV/AIDS. Retrieved February 1, 2021, from
Purnell, L. D. (2013). Transcultural health care: A culturally competent approach (4th ed.). F.A. Davis Company.