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Citation Information

Type Thesis or Dissertation - MA in Child and Family Studies
Title Adolescents’ perceptions and experiences of Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) at a tertiary hospital in Francistown, Botswana
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
URL http://etd.uwc.ac.za/xmlui/handle/11394/4900
Botswana is experiencing high levels of HIV prevalence rate at 16.9% among the general
population, 4.5% among adolescents aged 10-14 and 4.7% among adolescents aged 14-19.
Adolescents are in a critically stage between childhood and adulthood and undergo a lot of
developmental changes physically, psychologically and emotionally. The scourge of
HIV/AIDS has also brought with it multiple challenges to adolescents as those who are HIV
positive have to adhere to all the health requirements of being HIV positive and at the same
time being pressurised by the societal expectations. Stigmatisation and discrimination are
experienced as barriers against the fight towards HIV which is seen a major factor among
adolescents. The aim of the study was to explore and describe adolescents’ perceptions and
experiences of anti-retroviral therapy at a tertiary hospital in Francistown, Botswana. The study
followed a qualitative research approach with an exploratory descriptive research design.
Purposive sampling was used to recruit participants. Participants were school going adolescents
aged between 13 and 19 years, who are on antiretroviral therapy and going for reviews at a
tertiary hospital in Francistown, Botswana. Data were gathered though face to face semi
structured interviews with each of the 24 participants. Data were analysed thematically. The
following four themes emerged during the analysis: i. “ARVs control but don’t cure”; ii. “Why
did it happen to me?-the reality of using ARVs”; iii. “I don’t want to take them for the rest of
my life”; and iv. “No man is an island”, which addressed the research objectives. The findings
led to the conclusion that, despite the fact that HIV has been around for over two decades and
ARVs has been around for more than a decade, adolescents living with HIV still faces
challenges such as stigmatisation due to social as well as clinical factors and adjusting to a
lifelong treatment which made it difficult for them to adhere to their treatment. However,
adolescents are happy as they are living a healthy and a fruitful life as a result of the ARVs.
Ethical considerations were adhered too. Furthermore the findings of the study could assist the
Ministries of Health, Education, Local Government and Rural Development to address these
challenges experienced by the adolescents in the development of social programmes to improve
the livelihood of the adolescents living with HIV/AIDS.

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