Correlates of Fatigue Among South African Adolescents Living with HIV and Receiving Antiretroviral Therapy

  • Bronwynè J. CoetzeeEmail author
  • Maria E. Loades
  • Stefani Du Toit
  • Ashraf Kagee
Original Paper


Fatigue among adolescents living with HIV is poorly understood. In this study, we examined the relationships between fatigue and demographic and psychosocial variables to further the understanding of the symptom experience and associated factors. We recruited consecutive attenders at ART clinics in the Western Cape, South Africa (N = 134, age 11–18 years). Participants completed a battery of questionnaires including measures of fatigue, insomnia and mood disturbance. Just under a quarter (24.6%) of adolescents reported elevated levels of fatigue that affected their functioning. The linear combination of age, depression, and insomnia explained 40.6% of the variance in fatigue. Amongst adolescents with HIV, fatigue seems a problematic symptom associated with poor sleep and mood disturbance. Timely identification and management of these potentially disabling symptoms are needed to attain better health outcomes and retention in care in this group. Interventions aimed at ameliorating these symptoms are needed.


Fatigue HIV Adolescent Antiretroviral therapy South Africa 



Many thanks to the clinical staff and healthcare providers for their openness to this research and their role in the recruitment of participants. We also thank our participants for their willingness to contribute to this study. Dr Loades is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (Doctoral Research Fellowship, DRF-2016-09-021). This report is independent research. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, The National Institute for Health Research or the Department of Health.


We would like to acknowledge Stellenbosch Universities Sub-Committee A, as well as the University of Bath’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences & Department of Psychology for funding this research.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

Ethics approval was received from Stellenbosch University Health Research Ethics Committee (#HREC N16/03/032) and the Western Cape Department of Health. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyStellenbosch UniversityStellenboschSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of BathBathUK

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