Title : The lived experiences of HIV-positive young adults regarding adherence to antiretroviral treatment in Tshwane District, Gauteng
Human Immunodeficiency Virus creates disruption in the lives of individuals, families, organisations, and communities at large. The introduction of the antiretroviral treatment brought hope but also brought challenges, especially around the issue of adherence which is important for improved health outcomes. The study intended to gain an understanding of the lived experiences of HIV-positive young adults regarding adherence. The study setting was an antiretroviral clinic situated within a regional hospital in the Tshwane district.
The target population for this study was patients who were receiving antiretroviral treatment at the antiretroviral clinic situated in a regional hospital. The researcher drew a sample of 15 young adults who were on antiretroviral treatment (ART) from January 2019 to December 2020 and who defaulted but returned to care. Purposive sampling was used to select participants and the sample was determined by data saturation. A qualitative approach was utilised to conduct the study, using in-depth phenomenological telephonic interviews to collect data. All interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data.
The findings of the study revealed participants were knowledgeable about the importance of adherence of antiretroviral treatment. There were existing barriers which influenced disclosure, lack of support and difficulties of taking antiretroviral treatment. It was concluded that there is a need to intensify established programmes, encourage people to adhere to their antiretroviral treatment and on-going support and counselling. Understanding adherence patterns of young adults and factors that cause barriers to adherence may help design strategies that can strengthen adherence. Improved adherence results in improved outcomes, decrease opportunistic infections as well as HIV-related mortality.