Acceptability of a group intervention for initiates of antiretroviral therapy in Tanzania.
The success of antiretroviral therapy (ART) programmes requires high adherence and retention in care. In light of healthcare shortages, group interventions may be optimal ways to deliver information and provide support to ART patients. This study assessed the acceptability of a group intervention for patients and their supporters, which aimed to decrease stigma, harness social support and improve adherence. Twenty-eight ART patients attended a four-hour group intervention and 11 brought someone they identified as a potential supporter. The intervention was led by HIV-infected facilitators and included interactive sessions on HIV, ART, caregiving, stigma and disclosure. Participants completed intake and exit interviews and participated in focus group discussions (FGDs). Participants rated the intervention favourably and in FGDs, patients said they gained knowledge about adherence, felt empowered to tackle stigma and disclosure of their HIV-positive status, and experienced reductions in feelings of loneliness. Supporters reported that they learned how to provide better care, gained knowledge and felt closer to the person they were taking care of. Both patients and supporters saw HIV-infected facilitators as role models. Opinions were mixed about the benefits of combining patients and supporters in the same intervention due to the issue of maintaining patient confidentiality. The group intervention showed the potential to reduce stigma, increase social support and improve adherence to therapy.
Watt, MH; Aronin, EH; Maman, S; Thielman, N; Laiser, J; John, M
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