African Journal for Physical Activity and Health Sciences

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Adherence and non-adherence to anti-retroviral treatment: Experiences of patients at a hospital in Soweto, Gauteng Province, South Africa

CM Phiri


Adherence to treatment means taking all prescribed medication at the right time and in the right way. When patients do not adhere to treatment regimens, it becomes a challenge to determine whether the treatment that is being offered is effective or not. The aim of the study was to explore adherence and non-adherence experiences of patients who were on Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART). The research design was qualitative, descriptive and contextual. The sample which was purposively selected comprised 10 adult patients who had HIV diagnosis and were on (HAART). Data were collected through individual semi-structured interviews and analysed qualitatively guided by a six step process. Permission to conduct research was approved by the Medical Ethics Committee of University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. Results indicated that respondents who had disclosed their HIV status to their family members and significant others received the much needed support from them, including offering their understanding. Mainly, this revelation accounts for the respondents’ resilience and ability to adhere to HAART. Given the ever-present need to assess the impact of interventions designed to improve the quality of life and health for all, collaborative health resource management strategies need to innovatively interrogate the pill burden notion alluded to by respondents. In cases of  non-adherence they just simply forget to take medication followed by side effects, which may include stigma-related discriminations.

AJOL African Journals Online