Social support needs of HIV-positive individuals reentering community settings from correctional facilities in Johannesburg, South Africa

AIDS Care. 2022 Oct;34(10):1347-1354. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2021.1990200. Epub 2021 Oct 20.


Social networks and social support are important factors in medication adherence among people living with HIV (PLWH). Social networks can provide emotional, logistic, and material support leading to increased overall engagement in care. Certain populations of PLWH may have more limited access to social support, including those reentering community settings from correctional facilities. During periods of incarceration, social connections with family and friends may be frayed, reduced, or lost. This study, conducted in South Africa, explored the role of social support during community reentry among PLWH being released from correctional facilities. We conducted in-depth interviews with 41 community reentrants living with HIV. Qualitative analysis identified the challenges with establishing social support during reentry and the greater need for social support to remain engaged in HIV care in the community compared to in the correctional facility. These findings highlight challenges during community reentry and the importance of social support for these individuals.

Keywords: HIV; South Africa; community; incarceration; prison; social support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Correctional Facilities
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • HIV Infections* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Medication Adherence
  • Social Support
  • South Africa / epidemiology