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AIDS Research and Treatment
Volume 2017, Article ID 5192516, 8 pages
Research Article

Antiretroviral Treatment Adherence: Knowledge and Experiences among Adolescents and Young Adults in Soweto, South Africa

Perinatal HIV Research Unit, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Gauteng 1864, South Africa

Correspondence should be addressed to Stefanie Hornschuh; az.oc.urhp@shuhcsnroh

Received 25 October 2016; Accepted 21 February 2017; Published 20 March 2017

Academic Editor: Stefan Baral

Copyright © 2017 Stefanie Hornschuh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) management of adolescents and young adults (AYAs) is particularly pertinent to sub-Saharan Africa, where the pediatric HIV burden is marked. Antiretroviral treatment (ART) adherence is a major challenge for AYAs. This qualitative study explored knowledge and experiences of adherence amongst AYAs attending treatment at the Perinatal HIV Research Unit (PHRU), Soweto, South Africa. Four focus group discussions (FGDs) and eight in-depth interviews (IDIs) were conducted with HIV-infected 15–25-year-old ART recipients. Transcripts were coded thematically. Participants () were aged median 18.5 years, 59.1% female and 69.2% virally suppressed <400 cp/ml. Three main themes emerged during FGDs and IDIs: (i) correct knowledge about how to be adherent, benefits, and nonadherence consequences, (ii) social, personal, and medication-related barriers to adherence, and (iii) reminder, concealment, and motivational strategies to optimize adherence. Interventions to improve AYA adherence could focus on practical strategies, including status disclosure and medication concealment.