Adherence to HAART: Experiences of men and women living with HIV in the Western Cape Province, South Africa
The aim of this study was to explore how HIV positive people understand and describe their experience of taking antiretroviral treatment consistently in a strictly organised regimen. Eight participants were recruited from Ikhwezi Clinic. The participants were interviewed using an in depth interview guide. A Phenomenological data analysis was employed through which six themes emerged. The themes are forgetting and memory aids, fitting treatment into daily routine, belief in effectiveness of medication, experiences of side effects, disclosure and social support and relationship with the health care provider. The health belief model and the self-efficacy theory were applied in the study. These theories helped to understand that the decision to take treatment is not only based on the individual experiences and beliefs but the interaction with the social and environmental factors as well. Family, community and health care factors are all interconnected and play a vital role in the decision to commence and continue with HAART. The study revealed that PLWHA can adhere to antiretroviral medication if they believe in the benefits of doing so. Furthermore it became clear that experiences of men and women differ when it comes to HAART. The involvement of the inlaws as experienced by the women in this study had a negative influence in the participants' adherence routine. Further studies are needed to explore the influence of culture in decision making by women with regards to their health.