The majority of HIV and AIDS patients in sub-Saharan African countries receive health care services at home. Yet research on infection control in home-based care settings is virtually non-existent. This study explored infection control practices in home-based care in a South African province with a high HIV/TB prevalence. We conducted interviews with 10 managers of home-based care organizations and 10 focus group discussions with 80 volunteer caregivers working in high HIV/TB prevalent communities in South Africa. Findings show that volunteers had insufficient training on infection control. Materials necessary for the maintenance of hygiene and protective equipment were in short supply and the protective equipment supplied was of poor quality. Home-based care patients lived in crowded and poor conditions, and family members were negatively disposed to the use of protective devices. Together, these factors put volunteers and family caregivers at risk of infection with HIV and TB. Health policy should address the training of volunteer caregivers and the regular supply of good quality materials to ensure effective infection control. It is also important to educate families on infection control. Finally, there is a need to integrate HIV and TB control at the community level.
Keywords: HIV/AIDS; South Africa; home-based care; infection control; tuberculosis.