Caribbean Medical Journal (Feb 2023)

Understanding the Antiretroviral Treatment Experiences of Men Attending a HIV Clinic in Jamaica

  • Cath Conn,
  • Shakeisha Wilson,
  • Shoba Nayar,
  • Tineke Waters


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Objective: Jamaican men experience socio-cultural norms that increase vulnerability to contracting Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, and affect how they engage with their antiretroviral treatment. This paper reports on a study, conducted in 2016, that examined the treatment experiences of Jamaican men attending a HIV clinic. Methods: This qualitative study utilized semi-structured interviews with 24 participants to explore the complexities surrounding sexuality, gender, and HIV status as interrelated dimensions that influenced HIV positive Jamaican men’s engagement and adherence with antiretroviral treatment. Data were coded using NVivo and analyzed using the stepwise multi-level intersectionality framework of Winker and Degele. Results: Men’s treatment trajectory comprised five phases: HIV diagnosis, acceptance, adjustment, treatment initiation, and treatment continuation. The treatment phases were largely centered on the clinic, which was deemed to minimize some men’s autonomy and liberty. As a result, the clinic was positioned as both an enabler and barrier to men’s access to optimal health care. Conclusion: The study makes an original contribution to understanding a population and issue that remains integral in effectively addressing the HIV epidemic in Jamaica. It is argued that there is a need for gender-sensitivity, tailored access to health services, and the provision of safe and enabling health environments to address HIV positive men’s health in Jamaica.