A peer adherence support intervention to improve the antiretroviral treatment outcomes of HIV patients in South Africa : the moderating role of family dynamics
Roux Booysen, le, Frederik
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Social science and medicine: A: medical sociology. - Oxford
, p. 145-153
University of Antwerp
Given the severe shortage of human resources in the healthcare sector in many countries with high HIV prevalence, community-based peer adherence support is being increasingly cited as an integral part of a sustainable antiretroviral treatment (ART) strategy. However, the available scientific evidence on this topic reports discrepant findings on the effectiveness of peer adherence support programmes. These conflicting findings to some extent can be attributed to the lack of attention to the social contexts in which peer adherence support programmes are implemented. This study explores the potential moderating role of family dynamics by assessing the differential impact of peer adherence support in different types of families, based on the theoretical underpinnings of the family functioning framework. These relationships were explored with the aid of multivariate statistical analysis of cross-sectional, post-trial data for a sample of 340 patients interviewed as part of the Effectiveness of Aids Treatment and Support in the Free State (FEATS) study conducted in the publicsector ART programme of the Free State Province of South Africa. The analysis reveals no significant overall differences in CD4 cell count between the intervention group accessing additional peer adherence support and the control group receiving standard care. When controlling for the potential moderating role of family dynamics, however, the outcomes clearly reveal a significant interaction effect between the adherence intervention and the level of family functioning with regard to treatment outcomes. Multi-group analysis demonstrates that peer adherence support has a positive effect on immunological restoration in well-functioning families, while having a negative effect in dysfunctional families. The study outcomes stress the need for peer adherence interventions that are sensitive to the suboptimal contexts in which they are often implemented. Generic, broad-based interventions do not necessarily facilitate the treatment adherence of the most vulnerable patient groups, particularly those without supportive family contexts. Tailoring interventions aimed at creating a health-enabling environment to the needs of these at-risk patients should therefore be a priority for both research and policy.