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Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2007 Feb-Mar;24(1):7-12.

AIDS and palliative care in South Africa.

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Department of Health Sciences, Lehman College, City University of New York, Bronx, NY, USA.


As a result of limited access to antiretroviral treatment, many South Africans die yearly of AIDS. It is important that the end-of-life needs of these people be met. This article examines the major challenges involved in providing quality end-of-life care to people with AIDS in South Africa. Published reports are reviewed, as is the author's experience living and working in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The issues discussed include the nature of the South African health care system, with emphasis on the scarcity of palliative care resources for AIDS patients, ineffective control of pain, models of care such as the integrated community-based home care model that relies heavily on community caregivers to meet the needs of people dying of AIDS, the living conditions of AIDS patients and their families, and AIDS-related stigma. Broad recommendations are presented for improving palliative care services for people with AIDS in the South African context.

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