Understanding HIV-positive drug users’ experiences of taking highly active antiretroviral treatment: The identity-value-conscious engagement model

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Aim: To explore HIV-positive drug users' experiences of taking antiretroviral medications in Taiwan and further develop a conceptual model that can be used to understand their adherence to the long-term treatment.

Background: The global vision of ending AIDS by 2030 cannot be achieved without addressing HIV-positive drug users’ experience of taking antiretroviral treatment. There remains a paucity of qualitative evidence on HIV-positive drug users’ experiences of taking antiretroviral medications globally and in East Asia. Nurses play a key role in supporting HIVpositive drug users throughout their treatment process. Therefore, it is pivotal to understand HIV-positive drug users’ experiences of managing long-term anti-HIV treatment.

Design: This qualitative study drew on a constructivist grounded theory approach to achieve the aims. Semi-structured in-depth interviews with 22 HIV-positive drug users were conducted in Taiwan between September 2015 and July 2016. Data were analysed using Charmaz’s coding principles. The integration and formation of the model began with focused coding and proceeded through the subsequent analytic process. The reporting of this study was based on the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research (COREQ) checklist.

Results: This study shows that integrating HIV-positive identity into sense of self laid a solid foundation for the acceptance of self and antiretroviral treatment. Valuing of antiretroviral treatment played a central role in driving their medication-taking behaviour. While valuing the treatment appeared to drive participants’ behavioural change, data revealed that conscious engagement was an important element for their behaviour maintenance.

Conclusions: The evidence from this study can extend our knowledge of the mechanisms that influence the change and maintenance of HIV-positive drug users’ adherence to antiretroviral treatment.

Relevance to clinical practice: The Identity-Value-Conscious engagement Model developed and proposed in this study can serve as a guide for the development of tailored adherence assessment and associated nursing interventions for this population.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Early online date12 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Mar 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • adherence
  • antiretroviral treatment
  • drug users
  • grounded theory
  • HIV
  • qualitative research


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