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Coping opportunities and deficits displayed by people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Alice region, Eastern Cape, South Africa: Social work implications

Simon M. Kang'Ethe


Indubitably, the coping capacities of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) determine the success of antiretroviral therapies (ARVS) on them or their sinking into a bottomless pit of facing a constellation of opportunistic diseases, defaulting, or even facing immature death. With thirty-eight participants subjected to interviews and focus groups facilitated using an interview guide, this study aimed at exploring the perceptions of various stakeholders on the coping opportunities and deficits displayed by the PLWHA resident in Alice town and its adjacent villages. Findings established that PLWHA bolstered their coping through the support from family members, kins and communities, assistance from faith-based organizations; and engagement in support groups; while negative coping is driven by the PLWHA states of apathy driven by poverty, stigma, and discrimination; abuse of substances, and ignorance about the disease’s epidemiology and aetiology. The article has used the theory of ubuntu to explain various underpinnings of coping. Education on positive coping is critical for all the PLWHA so that they can reduce the chances of HIV/AIDS morbidity and immature death. The role of social workers in conducting educational sessions is critical.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2409-5605
print ISSN: 1563-3934