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Peer and Family-Based Social Support For HIV Treatment Adherence in South Africa


The goal of this study is to understand the role of family or peer support as a tool for improving adherence to antiretroviral therapy in an HIV positive population in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Data will be collected from a clinical trial evaluating the impact of community-based support network members supervising daily directly observed therapy (DOT) of anti-retroviral therapy (ARVs) compared with self-administered treatment on controlling viral load and maintaining immune restoration. How patients on ARVs experience support in taking their medication will be described by comparing patients with trained treatment supporters and patients without. Adherence to treatment is seen internationally as critical in any anti-retroviral treatment. High levels of adherence are needed every day of the week for life. This treatment needs life style adaptation and it is therefore important that it fits into the patient''s routine. Through 3 focus groups and 9 interviews with supporters, intervention patients, and control patients the following five specific aims will be addressed: 1) To describe selected patient supporters opinions on the support issues of patients and to gain an understanding of their support experience; 2) To identify forms of assistance and qualities of the patient-supporter relationship that promoted ARV adherence from patient and supporter perspectives; 3) To identify potential unintended consequences/outcomes of study participation for patients and supporters; 4) To explore what was useful and what was not regarding the adherence training sessions, from patients and supporters. This qualitative study will collect critical data to be used by our investigative team in order to better understand treatment supporter versus self-administration as a strategy to improve adherence to ARV therapy.


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