Community support and disclosure of serostatus to family members by public-sector ART patients in the Free State Province of South Africa
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Aids patient care and STDS. - Larchmont, N.Y.
, p. 357-364
University of Antwerp
Recent studies have indicated that the support of close relatives is fundamental in coping with HIV/AIDS and in accessing the emotional and material support necessary for sustained adherence to treatment. Because disclosure to family members is imperative to ensure their support, identifying tools or resources that can minimize the possible risks and maximize the potential benefits of disclosure should be useful in improving the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. Where health systems require strengthening, engaging the community in HIV/AIDS care could potentially create an environment that encourages disclosure to family members. This study investigated the impact of community support initiatives (community health workers and treatment support groups), patient characteristics (age, gender, and education), and time since first diagnosis on the disclosure of serostatus to family members by a sample of 268 public-sector antiretroviral treatment patients in a province of South Africa between August 2004 and July 2007. Whereas gender, age, and education only weakly influenced disclosure, there was a strong and stable positive association between community support and disclosure to family members. The immediate and long-term impact of community support on the disclosure by seropositive patients to family members indicates that initiatives such as community health workers and HIV support groups run by people living with HIV/AIDS should be strengthened, especially for those patients who cannot disclose their status to immediate family and close friends