Bridging the gap: the intermediate role of the household in community-based support for people living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa

Date: 8 April 2016

Venue: UAntwerpen, Stadscampus, Promotiezaal van de Grauwzusters - Grauwzusters, Lange Sint-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerpen

Time: 2:00 PM

PhD candidate: Caroline Masquillier

Principal investigator: Prof Edwin Wouters & Prof Dimitri Mortelmans

Short description: PhD defence Caroline Masquillier - Faculty of Social Sciences

The size and scale of the HIV/AIDS epidemic has compelled South Africa to respond to the challenges faced by its health system by developing innovative means of delivering health care. Due in part to the opportunities offered by the mobilization around HIV/AIDS, the epidemic has served as a catalyst for a renewed focus on community health workers in South Africa. The community-based HIV support provided by such health workers, for example, has brought care closer to people living with HIV/AIDS by entering the intermediate layer that is the household environment.

This PhD research sought to gain a deeper understanding of the importance of a patient’s household context in community-based treatment adherence support by integrating both quantitative and qualitative research. The articles collected in this PhD thesis illustrate the need for community-based treatment adherence support that is sensitive to the context in which it is implemented.

This research highlights the central role that a household can play in stimulating healthenhancing practices. In this respect, this PhD study suggests that communitybased adherence support should also aim to support the patient in building HIV/AIDS competence in the household. Insights such as these could guide future efforts to cultivate a health-enabling context and thus to provide sustainable support to people living with HIV/AIDS. This is essential, as antiretroviral treatment cohorts are likely to expand in the coming decades in a health system context of limited human resources.

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