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Open AccessArticle

Young South African Women on Antiretroviral Therapy Perceptions of a Psychological Counselling Program to Reduce Heavy Drinking and Depression

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Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Francie van Zyl Drive, Tygerberg 7505, South Africa
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Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, Cape Town 7700, South Africa
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Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, Cape Town 7700, South Africa
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HIV Mental Health Research Unit, Division of Neuropsychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, Cape Town 7700, South Africa
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Western Cape Department of Health., 8 Riebeeck Street, Cape Town 8000, South Africa
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Health Systems Research Unit, South African Medical Research Council, Francie van Zyl Drive, Tygerberg 7505, South Africa
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2249; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072249 (registering DOI)
Received: 11 February 2020 / Revised: 12 March 2020 / Accepted: 19 March 2020 / Published: 27 March 2020
Young women in South Africa remain most at risk for HIV infection. Several factors contribute to the high incidence rate in this population, including hazardous drinking and depression. Addressing common mental disorders (CMDs) such as depression and alcohol use disorders is key to effective HIV treatment. We explored the experiences and perceptions of young South African women on antiretroviral therapy (ART) of a lay health worker (LHW)-delivered psychosocial intervention based on motivational interviewing (MI) and problem-solving therapy (PST) to reduce heavy drinking and depression. We conducted 27 in-depth interviews with young women (aged 18–35) recruited from 16 primary care clinics in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Discussion topics included young women’s life experiences leading to their enrollment in the program, their perceptions of the counselling sessions and the quality of their interaction with the counsellor. Qualitative data were analyzed using a framework approach. The findings highlighted the impact adverse life experiences and stressful life circumstances have on young women’s use of alcohol and symptoms of depression and the effect this has on ART adherence. The findings suggest that women found the intervention components that helped them develop strategies for coping with their past experiences, managing current life stressors, and regulating negative thoughts and emotions most beneficial. Taken together, these findings confirm the acceptability of LHW-delivered MI-PST counselling for this population, but suggest that the relevance of the MI-PST intervention for this highly vulnerable population could be further enhanced by including a focus on psychological trauma. View Full-Text
Keywords: young women; hazardous alcohol use; depression; HIV; adherence; MI-PST counselling; psychosocial intervention young women; hazardous alcohol use; depression; HIV; adherence; MI-PST counselling; psychosocial intervention
MDPI and ACS Style

Petersen Williams, P.; Brooke-Sumner, C.; Joska, J.; Kruger, J.; Vanleeuw, L.; Dada, S.; Sorsdahl, K.; Myers, B. Young South African Women on Antiretroviral Therapy Perceptions of a Psychological Counselling Program to Reduce Heavy Drinking and Depression. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 2249.

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