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AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2015 May;29(5):299-306. doi: 10.1089/apc.2014.0293. Epub 2015 Feb 18.

A qualitative study of patient motivation to adhere to combination antiretroviral therapy in South Africa.

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1 The Global Health Network, Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, University of Oxford , Oxford, United Kingdom .


Taken as prescribed, that is, with high adherence, combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) has changed HIV infection and disease from being a sure predictor of death to a manageable chronic illness. Adherence, however, is difficult to achieve and maintain. The CAPRISA 058 study was conducted between 2007 and 2009 to test the efficacy of individualized motivational counselling to enhance ART adherence in South Africa. As part of the overall trial, a qualitative sub-study was conducted, including 30 individual interviews and four focus group discussions with patients in the first 9 months of ART initiation. Data were inductively analyzed, using thematic analysis, to identify themes central to ART adherence in this context. Four themes emerged that characterize the participants' experiences and high motivation to adhere to ART. Participants in this study were highly motivated to adhere, as they acknowledged that ART was 'life-giving', in the face of a large amount of morbidity and mortality. They were further supported by techniques of routine remembering, and highlighted the importance of good social support and access to supportive healthcare workers, to their continued success in negotiating their treatment. Participants in the current study told us that their adherence motivation is enhanced by free accessible care, approachable and supportive healthcare workers, broad social acceptance of ART, and past first-hand experiences with AIDS-related co-morbidity and mortality. Programs that include specific attention to these aspects of care will likely be successful in the long term.

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