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Factors contributing to the health-related quality of life of people living with HIV and their experiences with care and support services in Limpopo Province, South Africa
This study identified factors that influence the health-related quality of life of people living with HIV (PLWH). A qualitative research approach was used for this study and focus group discussions (FGDs) were used for data collection, while grounded theory informed the data analysis. The key finding of this study is that health-related quality of life of PLWH is determined by an intricate network of multiple factors that occur in vicious cycles. The impacts of these factors are determined by participants’ duration on treatment, acceptance and disclosure of HIV status and socioeconomic status. The fear of stigmatisation played an important role in the quality of life of the participants. There was acceptance of PLWH at the family level and support groups were useful in helping the participants to accept their status and handle HIV-related stigma. The reliance on CD4 count as eligibility criteria for the disability grant was criticized as it was not always a true reflection of their biopsychosocial wellbeing and ability to earn a living. The study also noted marked differences in the occurrence of symptoms through the trajectory of the disease, revealing four stages post-treatment-initiation. There was no notable difference based on ethnic group. In conclusion, the health-related quality of life of PLWH is dependent on the balance between a variety of interconnected factors, hence, HIV/AIDS-related interventions should always strive to be holistic in order to improve the outcome of patient care and support.