The perceived benefit of the disability grant for persons living with HIV in an informal settlement community in the Western Cape, South Africa

J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2014 Nov-Dec;25(6):589-602. doi: 10.1016/j.jana.2014.07.001. Epub 2014 Jul 15.


For persons living with HIV (PLWH) in limited socioeconomic circumstances in South Africa, social grants for disability have contributed significantly to alleviate poverty, yet there is a risk that recipients may lose these grants once they are clinically stable on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Our qualitative research explored perceptions and experiences of PLWH on ART concerning the social grant for disability and its contribution to health. Three focus groups were conducted with 15 purposively selected participants who attended a primary care clinic in the Western Cape. A thematic data analysis approach revealed two themes: (a) disability grants as a means of survival and (b) disability grants and ART adherence. The disability grant was considered an essential source of income and, for some, the sole means of survival. Participants valued their health more than the income, however, and, despite the risk of losing the grant, remained adherent to ART.

Keywords: HIV infection; South Africa; disability grant; poverty; social assistance.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Female
  • Financing, Organized*
  • Focus Groups
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections / economics*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception
  • Poverty*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life
  • Social Security
  • South Africa
  • Unemployment
  • Young Adult


  • Anti-HIV Agents