Scientific Letter

The essential role of physiotherapists in providing rehabilitation services to people living with HIV in South Africa

S. Cobbing, V. Chetty, J. Hanass-Hancock, J. Jelsma, H. Myezwa, S. A. Nixon
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 69, No 1 | a368 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v69i1.368 | © 2013 S. Cobbing, V. Chetty, J. Hanass-Hancock, J. Jelsma, H. Myezwa, S. A. Nixon | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 11 November 2013 | Published: 11 November 2013

About the author(s)

S. Cobbing, Division of Physiotherapy, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
V. Chetty, Division of Physiotherapy, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
J. Hanass-Hancock, HEARD, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
J. Jelsma, Division of Physiotherapy, University of Cape Town, South Africa
H. Myezwa, Department of Physiotherapy, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
S. A. Nixon, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto, Canada

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Abstract

Despite increased access to highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) in South Africa, there remains a high risk of people living with HIV (PLHIV) developing a wide range of disabilities. Physiotherapists are trained to rehabilitate individuals with the disabilities related to HIV. Not only can South African physiotherapists play a significant role in improving the lives of PLHIV, but by responding proactively to the HIV epidemic they can reinforce the relevance and value of the profession in this country at a time when many newly qualified therapists are unable to secure employment. This paper offers recommendations that may help to fuel this response. These ideas include enhancing HIV curricula at a tertiary level, designing and attending continuing education courses on HIV and researching Southern African rehabilitation interventions for HIV at all levels of practice. furthermore, it is vital that physiotherapists are at the forefront of directing multi-disciplinary responses to the rehabilitation of PLHIV in order to influence stakeholders who are responsible for health policy formulation. it is hoped that this paper stimulates discussion and further ideas amongst physiotherapists and other health professionals in order to improve the quality and access to care available to PLHIV in South Africa.

Keywords

HIV; Physiotherapy; Rehabilitation; Research; Response

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Crossref Citations

1. Factors influencing clinical practice guideline uptake by South African physiotherapists: A qualitative investigation of barriers and facilitators
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doi: 10.1111/jep.13182