ART : the views of counsellors about skills needed in counselling HIV/AIDS patients
Thesis (M Social Work (Social Work))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.
South Africa is experiencing a serious HIV/AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) epidemic, with millions of its people living with the disease and dying from related diseases. As there is no cure as yet, counselling as a form of intervention is one of the most powerful ways to address the psychosocial aspects of HIV/AIDS. The motivation for this study was the lack of research concerning skills needed by counsellors in counselling HIV/AIDS patients who are on antiretroviral treatment (ART) or are about to commence antiretroviral treatment. To add to the knowledge that is lacking, the study was approached by means of both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The purpose of the research was explorative and descriptive. The discussion on the literature that was studied provides an overview of the implications of HIV/AIDS for the individual and the family, and of the psychosocial implications, in addition to describing antiretroviral treatment and the nature of HIV and adherence counselling processes and skills. A sample of 16 adherence counsellors who were between the ages of 27 and 57 years was interviewed. These adherence counsellors were employed by Sothemba Aids Action, placed at the different ART sites, trained at the Aids, Training, Information and Counselling Centre (ATTIC) and have gained one or more years’ experience in HIV/AIDS counselling. A semi-structured questionnaire was used as research instrument. It contained both open- and closed-ended questions. All the interviews took place at the clinics where the counsellors were employed or worked. The results of the study showed that an equal number of respondents from two different ethnic groups were interviewed; all the participants had received high school education; and a few obtained tertiary level qualifications. They all received training in basic counselling skills and adherence counselling skills. A few indicated additional training in Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT), as well as Prevention of Mother-to-child Transmission Counselling (PMTC). A minority of counsellors indicated making use of a translator and that their experience was that the message was always misinterpreted. All the adherence counsellors indicated a need for further training involving social problems and counselling of children at different ages and stages of development. It was also found that the adherence counsellors lack skills in counselling intervention processes and in intervention. All the adherence counsellors raised concerns regarding their working conditions and salaries. In light of the above it is recommended that patients be counselled in their preferred language, that all counsellors receive the same training in counselling and in the additional areas where they experience a shortcoming. Data on HIV/AIDS and adherence counselling, including the views of counsellors and patients are limited. It is recommended that more research be done on HIV/AIDS and adherence counselling, including the different disciplines that are involved and the views of patients about services rendered to them by those in the different disciplines, and counsellors.