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HIV/AIDS symptom management in Southern Africa

Publication year
Sukati, N. A.; Mndebele, S. C.; Makoa, E. T.; Ramukumba, T. S.; Makoae, L. N.; Seboni, N. M.; Human, S.; Holzemer, W. L.

We describe self-reported strategies used by persons living with HIV/AIDS in Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, and Swaziland to manage common HIV-related symptoms. A questionnaire asked participants to list three to six symptoms they had recently experienced, the care strategies they had used to make them better, where they had learned the strategy, and to rate the perceived effectiveness of the strategy. Data were collected in 2002 from 743 persons. The self-care management strategies were coded into eight categories: medications, complementary treatments, self-comforting, changing diet, seeking help, exercise, spiritual care, and daily thoughts/activities. Overall, participants reported medications as the most frequently occurring management strategy and the most effective. A very small inventory of behavioral strategies was available to participants to help them manage their HIV-related symptoms.

Research abstracts