Cape Peninsula University of Technology

HIV Self-management

Experiences of higher education students on self-management of HIV at a higher education institution in the Western Cape area

Version 2 2024-01-30, 10:01
Version 1 2023-11-27, 11:36
posted on 2024-01-30, 10:01 authored by Siseko TyabazekaSiseko Tyabazeka

It has been noted that the number of HIV infections among young adults has been on the increase in the last few years. This has prompted the government to strengthen initiatives aimed at both prevention and treatment which include the availability of free condoms in all public facilities and the expansion of the antiretroviral therapy programme. Despite these initiatives, it appears treatment outcomes for the young adults’ group are poorer when compared to those of adults. It is also worth noting that HIV is now being identified as a chronic condition like other ailments such as diabetes which means it also requires self-management interventions as part of controlling it. Young adults living with HIV face a myriad of challenges in their efforts to self-manage their condition. University students whose majority falls into the young adults’ category have also been affected by the HIV virus in the same manner as young adults elsewhere. The aim of this study was to investigate the HIV self-management experiences among university students living with HIV at a higher education institution in the Western Cape area.

The study employed a qualitative research approach to investigate and analyse the experiences of the university students living with HIV who took part in this study. This study used exploratory, descriptive, and contextual research designs since the objective was to explore the HIV SM experiences of students living with HIV. Professional referral sampling was used to select participants in this study and this method was preferred due to the sensitivity of the matter under investigation. Qualitative approach was used to collect data until data saturation was reached, with a final sample size of eight (8) university students participating in the study. The collected data was analysed through inductive thematic analysis to get the findings and the trustworthiness was ensured. Steps were implemented to ensure adherence to ethical principles.

The major findings of the study showed that the participants of the study only gained a better understanding of HIV after they were diagnosed with the HIV virus, because that is when they began to access true facts about HIV as opposed to the myths they were exposed to prior to their diagnosis. The findings of the study also showed that living with the HIV virus is a journey that exposes the victims to different experiences that are quite challenging. The evidence also showed that once they devised ways to manage HIV, it became easier for them to strike a balance between their academic studies and managing their HIV status. The study also found that nurses played a key role in the participants’ management of the HIV virus both in providing treatment and providing psychosocial support. The participants also indicated that peer support was also a key intervention that allowed them interactions with their peers and share their experiences. A set of recommendations that were formulated based of the analysed data are also listed at the end of the study.

Ethical considerations were adhered to throughout the study, including obtaining informed consent from the participants, ensuring confidentiality and anonymity, and respecting the participants' right to withdraw from the study at any point. The researcher also applied for and was granted ethical clearance and institutional permission HC-REC2021/H12.




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