Information, motivation, and behavioral skills for early pre-ART engagement in HIV care among patients entering clinical care in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

AIDS Care. 2013;25(12):1485-90. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2013.775398. Epub 2013 Mar 11.


Little is known regarding factors implicated in early engagement and retention in HIV care among individuals not yet eligible for antiretroviral therapy (pre-ART) in sub-Saharan Africa. Identifying such factors is critical for supporting retention in pre-ART clinical care to ensure timely ART initiation and optimize long-term health outcomes. We assessed patients' pre-ART HIV care-related information, motivation, and behavioral skills among newly diagnosed ART-ineligible patients, initiating care in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The survey was interviewer-administered to eligible patients, who were aged 18 years or older, newly entering care (diagnosed within the last six-months), and ineligible for ART (CD4 count > 200 cells/mm(3)) in one of four primary care clinical sites. Self-reported information, motivation, and behavioral skills specific to retention in pre-ART HIV-care were characterized by categorizing responses into those reflecting potential strengths and those reflective of potential deficits. Information, motivation, and behavioral skills deficits sufficiently prevalent in the overall sample (i.e.,≥30% prevalent) were identified as areas in need of specific attention through intervention efforts adapted to the clinic level. Gender-based differences were also evaluated. A total of 288 patients (75% female) completed structured interviews. Across the sample, eight information, eight motivation, and eight behavioral skills deficit areas were identified as sufficiently prevalent to warrant specific targeted attention. Gender differences did not emerge. The deficits in pre-ART HIV care-related information, motivation, and behavioral skills that were identified suggest that efforts to improve accurate information on immune function and HIV disease are needed, as is accurate information regarding HIV treatment and transmission risk prior to ART initiation. Additional efforts to facilitate the development of social support, including positive interactions with clinic staff and decreasing community-level stigma and to decrease structural and resource-depleting demands of HIV care may be particularly valuable to facilitate retention in pre-ART HIV care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active / psychology*
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Counseling
  • Education
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • HIV Seropositivity / drug therapy
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Social Stigma
  • Social Support
  • South Africa
  • Young Adult