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HIV/AIDS and Antiretroviral Treatment Knowledge, Attitudes, Beliefs, and Practices in HIV-Infected Adults in Soweto, South Africa

Nachega, Jean B*; Lehman, Dara A*; Hlatshwayo, Dorothy; Mothopeng, Rachel; Chaisson, Richard E*‡; Karstaedt, Alan S

JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: February 1st, 2005 - Volume 38 - Issue 2 - p 196-201
Epidemiology and Social Science

Summary: A cross-sectional study of knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and practices (KABPs) toward HIV and antiretroviral therapy (ART) was conducted in Soweto, South Africa, using a standardized validated questionnaire. Of 105 HIV clinic patients evaluated, 70% of whom were not on ART, 89% had good knowledge about the cause of HIV infection and 83% knew about modes of transmission. Fifty-nine percent reported they were not worried about ART side effects. Sixty-five percent agreed that missing ART doses can lead to disease progression. Ninety percent had disclosed their HIV serostatus to 1 or more persons, but only 62% of those with a current sexual partner reported having told that partner. Approximately 80% reported that if they were taking ART, they would not be worried about family or friends finding out. Forty-nine percent believed that ART can cure HIV, a belief that was associated with a low level of education (P < 0.001). Overall, knowledge of the cause of HIV/AIDS, modes of transmission, and importance of ART adherence was good in our study population. Further research is warranted to assess the extent to which this knowledge and attendant attitudes predict ART adherence levels. The low rate of HIV serostatus disclosure to sexual partners calls for multidimensional interventions to reduce HIV-related stigma.

From the *Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD; †Adult HIV Outpatient Clinic, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Department of Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; and ‡Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.

Received for publication October 20, 2003; accepted May 24, 2004.

Support provided by the Johns Hopkins Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) under a National Institutes of Health (5P50AI42855) and Johns Hopkins Family Health and Child Survival (HRN-A-00-96-90006-00) cooperative agreement with the United States Agency for International Development.

Parts of this paper were presented as an oral presentation at the 10th Conference on Retrovirus and Opportunistic Infections, Boston, February 10-14, 2003 (ThOrAb#169) and at the Second International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment, Paris, July 13-16, 2003 (Ab#1218).

Reprints: Jean B. Nachega, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 North Wolfe Street, Room W5031, Baltimore, MD (e-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.