Establishing support groups for HIV-infected women: Using experiences to develop
KeywordsSupport groups, HIV+ women, project implementation strategies, change in systems, socio-ecological theory.
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AbstractHIV-infected women need support to deal with their diagnosis as well as with the stigma attached to HIV. As part of their practical training, Master's-level psychology students negotiated with the staff of four clinics in townships in Tshwane, South Africa, to establish support groups for HIV+ women and offered to assist them in facilitating the groups. This study aimed to understand why the implementation of groups was successful in one clinic and not other clinics. The student reports on their experiences and interaction with clinic staff and clients were used as sources of data. Using qualitative data analysis, different dynamics and factors that could affect project implementation were identified in each clinic. The socio-ecological and systems theories were used to understand implementation processes and obstacles in implementation. The metaphor of building a bridge over a gorge was used to describe the different phases in and obstacles to the implementation of the intervention. Valuable lessons were learnt, resulting in the development of guiding principles for the implementation of support groups in community settings. Keywords: Support groups, HIV+ women, project implementation strategies, change in systems, socio-ecological theory.SAHARA J Vol. 5 (2) 2008: pp. 65-73