oa SAHARA : Journal of Social Aspects of HIV / AIDS Research Alliance - Development of structured support groups for HIV-positive women in South Africa : original article



Women living with HIV in a stigmatising community need support to cope with their HIV status. In a process of action research, a structured support group programme was designed to meet the needs of women to cope with their diagnosis and interpersonal relationships. The emphasis was on identifying their needs and developing programme material to address those needs through group participation and interaction. The programme was pilot-tested at two sites located in two townships in Tshwane, South Africa. Feedback after each session made it possible to adjust the programme to the needs of the participants. In a formative evaluation, audio-taped sessions, process notes of facilitators, and experiences of the participants were used to identify therapeutic elements, the value of the groups and the problems in the implementation process. Women reported benefit from participation in the support groups. A 10-session structured programme to be used in support groups addressing the most important needs of HIV-positive women was developed.


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