Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


HIV-positive persons-Psychology, HIV infections-Treatment, HIV-positive persons-Drug use, HIV, AIDS, Human immunodeficiency virus, Acquired immunodeficiency syndrom anti-retroviral treatment, ART, Medication adherence, Medication compliance, Stigma, Self efficacy


This study was qualitative in design and explored how people who are HIV+ and prescribed Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) are able to take their medication every day as prescribed. Ten individuals who had an HIV VL of <78 (undetectable), were fairly stable in other areas of their lives were interviewed. These individuals had at one point not been able to take their medications as prescribed, but had later been able to commit to taking the HIV treatment regimen as prescribed, for at least six months. Mixed methods were used and participants completed a short written demographic form and a likert scale survey about previously researched boundaries. Respondents also participated in a short interview with open ended questions. All interviews were conducted in person. Findings showed that all participants agreed with at least one barrier identified from the previous research. Findings also showed that people struggled with substance use, pre-existing depression, low self-efficacy and shame or hopelessness about being HIV+. Interviewees all reported having a moment when they decided that they wanted to live. Some of these decisions were motivated by supportive communities, some by therapeutic interventions, and some by critical events. Providers were helpful, especially when direct, honest and caring. But overall, participants expressed that they were only able to commit to taking ART, when they were able to integrate their HIV+ selves (selves doomed to death), with their selves that could live full lives.




ii, 87 p. : col. ill. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2012. Includes bibliographical references (p. 58-74)