The impact of community support initiatives on the stigma experienced by people living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa
Roux Booysen, le, Frederik
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Aids and behavior. - Place of publication unknown
, p. 214-226
University of Antwerp
In the current context of human resource shortages in South Africa, various community support interventions are being implemented to provide long-term psychosocial care to persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). However, it is important to analyze the unintended social side effects of such interventions in regards to the stigma felt by PLWHA, which might threaten the successful management of life-long treatment. Latent cross-lagged modeling was used to analyze longitudinal data on 294 PLWHA from a randomized controlled trial (1) to determine whether peer adherence support (PAS) and treatment buddying influence the stigma experienced by PLWHA; and (2) to analyze the interrelationships between each support form and stigma. Results indicate that having a treatment buddy decreases felt stigma scores, while receiving PAS increases levels of felt stigma at the second follow up. However, the PAS intervention was also found to have a positive influence on having a treatment buddy at this time. Furthermore, a treatment buddy mitigates the stigmatizing effect of PAS, resulting in a small negative indirect effect on stigma. The study indicates the importance of looking beyond the intended effects of an intervention, with the goal of minimizing any adverse consequences that might threaten the successful long-term management of HIV/AIDS and maximizing the opportunities created by such support.