Factors that Motivated Otherwise Healthy HIV-Positive Young Adults to Access HIV Testing and Treatment in South Africa

R. Frederick Lambert, Catherine Orrell, David Bangsberg, Jessica E. Haberer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

The World Health Organization recommends early initiation of HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) for all those infected with the virus at any CD4 count. Successfully reaching individuals with relatively high CD4 counts depends in large part on healthy individuals seeking testing and treatment; however, little is known about factors motivating this decision. We conducted a qualitative study to explore this issue among 25 young HIV-positive adults (age 18–35) with a CD4 count >350 cells/mm3 who recently started or made the decision to start ART in Gugulethu, South Africa. Using an inductive content analytical approach, we found that most individuals sought testing and treatment early in the disease progression because of a desire to appear healthy thereby avoiding stigma associated with AIDS. Other factors included social support, responsibilities and aspirations, normalcy of having HIV, and accessible services. These findings suggest that maintenance of physical appearance should be included in the development of novel testing and treatment interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalAIDS and Behavior
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Feb 11 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Access to care
  • Antiretroviral therapy
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • South Africa
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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