On the road to HIV/AIDS competence in the household: Building a health-enabling environment for people living with HIV/AIDS
Van Wyk, Brian
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When aiming to provide chronic disease care within the context of human resource shortages, we should not only consider the responsibility of the individual person living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) but also the capacity of the social environment to actively encourage a lifestyle that fosters health. In this social environment, extensive efforts are thus required to increase HIV/AIDS knowledge, reduce stigma, stimulate HIV testing, improve health care-seeking behavior, and encourage safe sexual practices—described in the literature as the need for AIDS competence. In accordance with socio-ecological theory, one cannot restrict the research focus to communities, as AIDS competence studies should also incorporate the intermediate household level. In responding to this research need, the aim of this article is to conceptualize an “HIV/AIDS competent household” based on qualitative interviews and focus group discussions conducted in a township on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. Our results show that a household’s supportive response to disclosure allows a patient to live openly as HIV positive in the household concerned.