Being a female adolescent on antiretroviral therapy at eThikwini District, South Africa: A phenomenographic study

  • Farhana Mahomed
  • Azwihangwisi Helen Mavhandu-Mudzusi


Adherence to antiretroviral treatment is an important strategy to reduce the spread of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). However, most female adolescents living with HIV are unable to adhere to antiretroviral treatment. This phenomenographic study explores various experiences of HIV-positive female adolescents on antiretroviral therapy at eThekwini District, South Africa. In-depth individual interviews were conducted with 15 purposively selected adolescent living with HIV. Data were analysed guided by the phenomenographic framework for data analysis. Findings indicate that female adolescents' experiences vary regarding disclosure of HIV status, adherence to therapy, response to living with HIV, and taking treatment. The varied experiences have an impact on adherence to treatment, which, in turn, affects the adolescents’ quality of life. Based on the findings, researchers recomend the development of individualised support and relevant information to female adolescents on ART by healthcare professionals, family members, and teachers to promote adherence.


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eISSN: 1596-9231