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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

versão On-line ISSN 2071-9736
versão impressa ISSN 1025-9848

Health SA Gesondheid (Online) vol.14 no.1 Cape Town  2009




Nurses' perceptions about Botswana patients' anti-retroviral therapy adherence



Esther Kip; Valerie J. Ehlers; Dirk M. van der Wal

Department of Health Studies, University of South Africa, South Africa





Anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) are supplied free of charge in Botswana. Lifelong adherence to anti-retroviral therapy (ART) is vital to improve the patient's state of well-being and to prevent the development of strains of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that are resistant to ART. Persons with ART-resistant strains of HIV can spread these to other people, requiring more expensive ART with more severe side-effects and poorer health outcomes. The purpose of this exploratory, descriptive, qualitative study was to determine nurses' perspectives on Botswana patients' anti-retroviral therapy (ART) adherence, and to identify factors which could promote or hinder ART adherence. Four ART sites were randomly selected and all 16 nurses providing ART services at these sites participated in semi-structured interviews. These nurses indicated that patients' ART adherence was influenced by service-related and patient-related factors. Service-related factors included the inaccessibility of ART clinics, limited clinic hours, health workers' inability to communicate in patients' local languages, long waiting times at clinics and delays in being informed about their CD4 and viral load results. Nurses could not trace defaulters nor contact them by phone, and also had to work night shifts, disrupting nurse-patient relationships. Patient-related factors included patients' lack of education, inability to understand the significance of CD4 and viral load results, financial hardships, non-disclosure and non-acceptance of their HIV positive status, alcohol abuse, the utilisation of traditional medicines and side effects of ART. The challenges of lifelong ART adherence are multifaceted involving both patient-related and service-related factors. Supplying free ARVs does not ensure high levels of ART adherence.

Keywords: HIV nursing; ARVs (anti-retrovirals); ART (anti-retroviral therapy) adherence; Botswana; HIV/AIDS


Anti-retrovirale middels (ARMs) word gratis verskaf in Botswana. Lewenslange getroue nakoming van ARM voorskrifte is noodsaaklik om die pasiënt se algehele staat van welsyn te verbeter en om die ontwikkeling te voorkom van stamme van die menslike immuun-gebrek virus (MIV) wat weerstand bied teen anti-retrovirale behandeling (ARB). Persone met ARB-weerstandbiedende MIV stamme kan dit versprei na ander mense toe, wat duurder ARB vereis met swakker gesondheidsuitkomste. Die doel van hierdie verkennende, beskrywende, kwalitatiewe studie was om te bepaal wat verpleegkundiges se sienings is oor pasiënte in Botswana se nakoming van ARB, en om faktore te identifiseer wat die ARB-nakoming kan bevorder of benadeel. Vier ARB terreine was ewekansig gekies en al 16 verpleegkundiges wat ARB dienste by die terreine verskaf, het deelgeneem aan semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude. Hierdie verleegkundiges het aangedui dat pasiënte se ARB handhawing beïnvloed word deur diens-verwante en pasiënt-verwante faktore. Diens-verwante faktore behels die ontoeganklikheid van ARB klinieke, beperkte kliniekure, gesondheidswerkers se onvermoë om in pasiënte se plaaslike tale te kommunikeer, lang wagtye by klinieke en vertragings om ingelig te word oor uitslae van CD4 en virale tellings. Verpleegkundiges kan nie pasiënte opvolg of telefonies kontak wat versuim om op te daag vir behandeling nie. Verpleegkundiges moet nagskofte werk wat pasiënt-verpleegkundige verhoudings onderbreek. Pasiënt-verwante faktore behels pasiënte se gebrekkige opvoeding, hulle onvermoë om die belangrikheid van uitslae van CD4 en virale tellings te verstaan, finansiële ontberinge, nie-openbaarmaking en nie-aanvaarding van hulle MIV positiewe status, alkohol misbruik, die gebruik van tradisionele medisynes en die newe-effekte van ARB. Die uitdagings van lewenslange ARB handhawing is veelsydig en behels beide pasiënt-verwante en diens-verwante faktore. Die verskaffing van gratis ARMs verseker nie ARB handhawing nie.



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Valerie J. Ehlers
PO Box 392
UNISA, 0003
South Africa

Received: 04 Sep. 2008
Accepted: 01 June 2009
Published: 03 Aug. 2009

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