More people with HIV live in South Africa than anywhere else in the world. As people with HIV increasingly confront comorbid conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes, the need for integrated chronic care continues to grow. However, chronic care for patients with multimorbidities is limited in many public hospitals in South Africa. This ethnographic study describes patients' experiences seeking care for comorbid HIV and diabetes at a public tertiary hospital in Soweto, South Africa, and self-management at home. Findings illustrate how fragmented care, multiple clinic appointments, conflicting information, and poor patient-provider communication impeded patients' access to care for their multimorbidities. Socio-economic factors such as poverty, costly transport to the hospital, and food insecurity impeded management of multimorbidities. Integrated care for patients with multimorbidities in Soweto is imperative and must recognize the critical role social and economic conditions play in shaping the experiences of living with HIV, diabetes, and their overlap.
Keywords: Diabetes; HIV; South Africa; ethnographic study; integrated care; qualitative.