Adolescent human immunodeficiency virus self-management: associations with treatment adherence, viral suppression, sexual risk behaviours and health-related quality of life
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With the advent of access to antiretroviral treatment (ART), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has become a chronic disease and self-management is an important component of its care. Research to date has not explored associations between adolescent HIV self-management and treatment adherence, viral suppression, sexual risk behaviour and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). To explore the associations between adolescent HIV self-management and treatment adherence, viral suppression, sexual risk behaviour and HRQoL. A quantitative cross-sectional study of 385 adolescents living with HIV (ALHIV) aged 13-18 years, who were recruited from 11 healthcare facilities between March and August 2017 in the Cape Metropole of the Western Cape, South Africa, provided the data that were examined in this self-completed questionnaire. Validated scales were used to measure key variables. The most recent viral load (VL) was obtained from the participants clinic folder, taking into account that VL is done annually. Adolescents who reported higher HIV self-management were more likely to be adherent to treatment, virally suppressed and to practise consistent condom use. Structural equation modelling (SEM) indicated a significant relationship between self-management and HRQoL, whilst non-adherent treatment taking behaviour, correlated with elevated VL log values. No significant correlation was found between self-management and sexual risk behaviour. Targeting adolescents skills related to HIV self-management in the clinical setting may improve adolescents treatment taking behaviour, viral suppression rates and their HRQoL.