Health Workers’ Responses to COVID-19 Pandemic’s Impact on Service Delivery to Adolescents in HIV Treatment in Cape Town, South Africa: A Qualitative Study.

Publication date: Mar 07, 2024

Adolescents living with HIV (ALHIVs) are considered a priority population in the fight against HIV, requiring dedicated services. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent disruptions deprived ALHIVs on antiretroviral therapy (ART) of the care and social support essential for treatment adherence and positive treatment outcomes. This study describes health managers’ and healthcare workers’ responses to the impact of COVID-19 on service delivery to ALHIVs in HIV treatment in the Cape Town Metropole. A descriptive qualitative design was employed, where semi-structured individual interviews (n = 13) were conducted with senior and programme managers as well as healthcare workers between April and October 2023. Inductive thematic analysis was performed using Atlas. ti version 23. Two main themes emerged from these interviews: “HIV service delivery to adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic” and “Lessons learnt-the way forward”. The de-escalation of health services at primary health facilities and the disruption of HIV services resulted in disengagement from care by ALHIVs, increasing mental health and treatment challenges. This warrants the restoration of psychosocial support services and the re-engagement of ALHIVs. The findings from this study can function as a guide for health systems and healthcare providers to navigate future pandemics to ensure that vulnerable populations such as ALHIVs continue to receive care and treatment.

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Concepts Keywords
Atlas adherence
Healthcare adolescents
Hiv antiretroviral therapy
Managers COVID-19
October engagement
healthcare systems
mental wellness
vaccine uptake


Type Source Name
disease MESH COVID-19 Pandemic
disease VO population
disease VO vaccine
disease MESH AIDS
drug DRUGBANK Coenzyme M
disease MESH social stigma
disease MESH psychological distress
disease MESH unemployment
disease IDO process
drug DRUGBANK Etoperidone
disease VO LACK
disease IDO facility
disease MESH mental illness
disease VO effective
disease MESH food interactions
disease VO efficiency
drug DRUGBANK Serine
disease MESH infections
disease IDO intervention
disease IDO infection
disease VO organization
drug DRUGBANK Tropicamide
drug DRUGBANK Pentaerythritol tetranitrate
disease VO vaccination
disease VO USA
disease VO volume
disease VO report

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