The socioeconomic impact of antiretroviral treatment on individuals in Soweto, South Africa

Varsha Chhagan, John Luiz, Lerato Mohapi, James McIntyre, Neil Martinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This research explores the short-term socioeconomic effect of antiretroviral treatment (ART) in HIV positive patients attending the Perinatal HIV Research Unit clinics in Soweto, South Africa. An overall increase in mean personal and household income following commencement of ART was noted. Mean personal income rose 53% over baseline income. A decrease in the number of meals missed in households was noted in 10% of the sample. The leading themes regarding income were change in employment status and social grants. Antiretroviral treatment increased the capacity to seek employment and unemployed individuals were actively searching for work. Patients noted an improvement in well-being, with fewer to no episodes of illness, and improved quality of life from three months after starting ART. The empirical evidence suggests that individuals gain substantial benefits from being on ART despite the socioeconomic challenges in South Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-105
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Sociology Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Antiretroviral treatment
  • Health sociology
  • Socioeconomic impact
  • South Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)


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